On Tuesday evening the film Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center, a documentary, was screened for a standing-room only audience in Lower Manhattan. Billed as “the film that PBS doesn’t want you to see,” it studies the intense friction between moderate Muslims and Wahhabi radicals. Profiles of Muslims in Denmark, France, Canada, Michigan, and Arizona demonstrate how moderate voices, devoted to the idea of integrating Islam with democracy, are threatened and marginalized by Islamists intent on establishing Islamic law (shari’a) in the West.
Although it deals with a topic of national importance, and offers a much-needed platform for moderate Muslim voices—such as the embattled Danish lawmaker Naser Kader; the head of the Arizona Medical Association, Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser; and the intrepid Parisian filmmaker Mohamed Sifaoui—PBS has decided to suppress the film.
Originally created for the America at the Crossroads documentary series currently airing on PBS, the film was nixed upon completion and kept off the air. Before the screening on Tuesday, Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev, two of the filmmakers behind Islam vs. Islamists, joked that theirs was one of the first films “roundly attacked by the people who commissioned it.” Gaffney added, “The nicest thing they [PBS] said about it was that it was ‘alarmist.’”