There's a show called "The Opposite Direction" on the Al Jazeera news channel. For many of us who understand Arabic, this show is something good to watch when we need a good laugh. The presenter is a well-educated gentleman by the name of Faisal Al-Qassem. It is obvious that he is well-read and always up-to-date with current events. It is more obvious that he is almost never objective as he doesn't let a chance go by without expressing his frustration with Syria's President Assad and his allies. The fact that Mr. Al-Qassem has a tendency of using insulting language is something that makes his show even funnier. Also, he is almost always successful in instigating the exchange of less than civil discussions between his guests. 

On the 12th of December, the topic of Mr. Al-Qassem's show dealt with Jerusalem and the Trump declaration. He hosted a Moslem religious "scholar" called Abdul Rahman Said and an Israeli social academic "scholar" called Mordechai Kedar. 

Mr. Abdul Rahman played the same decades-old broken record with songs of Arab unity and ultra-nationalism. He said exactly what the young Moslem Arab street is fed up with. Even more, he insisted on Jerusalem being Moslem when the common understanding of the new educated generation is that the holy city is sacred for Moslems, Jews, and Christians alike. What he had to say was not fulfilling for Arabs and definitely offensive to many. 

Mr. Kedar, however, was a real piece of work. Regardless of one's political inclinations, a Ph.D. university lecturer is expected to be, at the very least, an educated person who knows how to deliver messages without the use of insults. A higher education level professional who insists on making a point that offends over a billion Moslems is considered nothing less than a literary terrorist by many in the Islamic faith and by those who appreciate global religious harmony. 

In all fairness, both guests did display low-class rhetoric abilities. Perhaps because the show they were on demands nothing less from its guests. Action means higher viewer ratings and the exchange of insults leads to action. Mr. Abdul Rahman telling Mr. Kedar to "Shut Up" and Mr. Kedar calling his counterpart "Stupid." 

It all makes me wonder if the messages of social and political shows are still ones of enlightenment and public education. There definitely was nothing constructive in wasting almost 50 minutes on "The Opposite Direction" this week.  

Mr. Abdul Rahman is supposedly a man who has learned the Quran well; otherwise, you can't become a Moslem clergyman. He claimed Jerusalem to be Moslem; as if Jerusalem is not a part of Palestine or Israel, depending on which side of the border you are and what you prefer to call it. Whatever your naming preference is, the fact remains that Moses, in the Quran, is said to have told his people "Enter the holy land that God has assigned for you." 

Now, according to Mr. Abdul Rahman's discussion, either the Quranic Al Ma'idah 21st verse is wrong or that the people of Moses are not the Jews. 

Back to Mr. Kedar. This professor goes on an international broadcasting television station calling Arabs "stupid". He claims that the Quran is nothing more than a plagiarism of Jewish and Christian scripts. He has made me think deeply about which category of Israelis he belongs to.  

It can't be the Israeli government because, on one hand, it is almost always maintaining that it wants peace with its neighbors. On the other hand, it represents Arab and Moslem Israelis and can't discriminate against the race or religion of its citizens. Mr. Kedar can't, as well, fit in the category of educational scholars as their job is the enlightenment of future generations by furnishing literature and having the students reach their own conclusions. It's impossible to fit him in the moderate Israeli society category either. The man is clearly a fundamentalist whose place is not in the world of the dialogue of civilizations. 

Between all the educated scholars in the world, Mr. Al-Qassem chose these two. An Arab denying God's judgment and an Israeli with a superiority complex. Al Jazeera's spotlight is definitely not aiming for peace. Otherwise, two moderate scholars would had been hosted and they would speak constructively without insulting the intelligence of viewers.


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