The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, has criticized the apology issued by Al-Jazeera in connection with a program that featured Wafa Sultan, well-known critic of Islam. According to the MPAC statement:
The Al-Jazeera network issued an apology today, following its controversial decision to invite a widely discredited Islamophobe on a popular current affairs program. The apology comes three days after “The Opposite Direction” hosted Wafa Sultan, who spewed the usual anti-Muslim rhetoric as well as basic distortions of Islamic beliefs, alongside an unknown Muslim cleric. “This apology is irrelevant and misses the point,” said MPAC Senior Advisor Dr. Maher Hathout. “As believers in free speech, the idea of debate and introducing different perspectives is acceptable and encouraged. Yet those who are invited to debate on such an important forum should be qualified and up to the task.” Despite three appearances on Al-Jazeera on issues of Islam and Muslims, Sultan is no scholar of Islam, comparative religion or political theory. Instead, she routinely insults and debases Muslims and everything they hold sacred.MPAC calls on Al-Jazeera to provide real answers about its editorial approach rather than politically correct apologies.
The MPAC statement follows Muslim Brotherhood practice in a couple of respects. First, Brotherhood organizations rarely find it sufficient to disagree with critics but rather practice “character assassination” in this case based on a charge of “Islamaphobia.” Second, the statement criticizes Al-Jazeera and Sultan on the grounds that she is “no scholar of Islam.” Yet, the leaders of MPAC have issued statements for about 20 years holding forth an a wide variety of Islamic topics despite the fact that neither has had any theological or scholarly training. In 2006 Wafa Sultan was named in Time Magazine in a list of 100 influential people in the world “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” Time stated:
Sultan’s influence flows from her willingness to express openly critical views on Islamic extremism that are widely shared but rarely aired by other Muslims.