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Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 Matt Anderson.

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Presentation on theme: "Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 Matt Anderson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 Matt Anderson

2 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In September 2001, a substitute teacher wrote in the margins of a newspaper he threw away, “Osama bin Laden did us a favor. He vulcanized us, awakened us and strengthened our resolve.” He was suspended Source: ncac.org

3 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In March 2003, the US State Department listed countries that denied religious freedom On the list were China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea Not on the list were US allies in wars against Iraq and Afghanistan such as Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan Source: Index on Censorship (2003) vol. 32, no. 2, p. 170.

4 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In December 2003, a Tucson, Arizona newspaper published a letter suggesting that five Muslims should be killed for every US soldier killed Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that publishing the letter was not inciting a hate crime Source: Index on Censorship (2005) vol. 34, no. 4, p. 147.

5 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2006, the Iraqi project director for a human rights group tried to board a flight wearing a T-shirt with the slogan we will not be silenced in Arabic and English Airport personnel forced him to change his shirt Source: Index on Censorship (2006) vol. 35, no. 4, p. 118.

6 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 “The real question is not whether Islamists pose a threat, but what political agendas are served by continuing to paint Islamists as a monolithic, anti-democratic mob?” –Jillian Schwedler, 1998

7 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2000, the FBI received reports of 28 hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs In 2001, there were 481 Source: Snow, Nancy. Information War. 2003.

8 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 Voice of America is a state-funded US radio station for Arabic audience In 2001, the US State Department attempted to prevent a broadcast of an interview with Taliban’s Mullah Mohammed Omar International Press Institute: US cannot permit “balanced news stories to be reported in western countries while trying to prevent similar news stories being aired in the Middle East” Source: Index on Censorship (2002) vol. 31, no. 1, p. 141.

9 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 US Foreign Relations Committee became fed up with Voice of America’s attempt at balanced coverage On 6 December 2001, US Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Jesse Helms (R-NC) submitted a bill to authorize Radio Free Afghanistan at a $17 million annual budget Source: Index on Censorship (2002) vol. 31, no. 1, p. 141.

10 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 Al-Jazeera is a widely watched television station in Arab world, having provided interviews with Osama bin Laden In October 2001, the US State Department asked Qatar’s government to soften Al-Jazeera’s editorial nature “We give equal coverage to both sides and that is our role” –Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, director general of Al-Jazeera US destroyed the station’s Kabul office with a November air strike Source: Index on Censorship (2002) vol. 31, no. 1, p. 141.

11 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2001, the White House asked US news networks not to broadcast messages from bin Laden to avoid frightening Americans and relaying coded messages to other terrorists The networks jointly agreed “This self-censorship sends the wrong message to the Muslim nations about the values of openness and press freedom that the United States and its allies uphold and denies the American public the right to be fully informed” –Inter American Press Association Source: Index on Censorship (2002) vol. 31, no. 1, p. 141.

12 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In January 2002, the American Society of Newspaper Reporters asked US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to lift the ban on showing photos of arrivals of detainees at Guantanamo Bay Detainees were in black hoods and shackles The Pentagon said the Red Cross had objected to showing pictures of them in this state The Red Cross denied having ever raised the issue Source: Index on Censorship (2002) vol. 31, no. 2, p. 128.

13 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2002, a Muslim woman refused to remove her veil for her Florida driver’s license photo Florida law states that “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” Source: Index on Censorship (2002) vol. 31, no. 2, p. 127.

14 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) studied TV networks in weeks after US invasion of Iraq 64% of sources for stories were pro-war 10% were anti-war Source: Index on Censorship (2003) vol. 32, no. 4, p. 155.

15 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2003 Al-Jazeera attempted to lease studio space in Washington, DC Potential landlords denied them, claiming it could be “a target for people who do not understand or do not agree with its business principles and philosophies of those of its ownership” Source: Index on Censorship (2003) vol. 32, no. 4, p. 155.

16 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2003, ABC news ran a story with US soldiers voicing their frustrations with missions in Iraq. One went as far as to demand US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. Six soldiers were discharged because of the piece Source: Index on Censorship (2003) vol. 32, no. 4, p. 155.

17 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In October 2003, journalists travelling to Guantanamo Bay were forced to sign a statement promising not to ask questions about investigations at the base If they did, their Defense Department press credentials would be revoked Source: Index on Censorship (2004) vol. 33, no. 1, p. 158.

18 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In early 2004, US forces held Iraqi detainees for several days in cells so small they were unable to lie down or stand They were also subjected to loud music to keep them from sleeping Some were also kept naked This information only surfaced in June 2006 when the ACLU sued under the Freedom of Information Act Source: Index on Censorship (2006) vol. 35, no. 3, p. 119.

19 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2004, attempts to ban books in US libraries increased by almost 25% The most common themes were gay and religious themes Source: Index on Censorship (2005) vol. 34, no. 4, p. 147.

20 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2005, the US Department of Defense released hundreds of photos of flag-draped coffins from US troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan Photos were only released after Freedom of Information Act suit by the National Security Archives Source: Index on Censorship (2005) vol. 34, no. 3, p. 118.

21 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 2006 National Defense Authorisation Act makes many files fully immune from requests brought as part of the Freedom of Information Act Source: Index on Censorship (2005) vol. 34, no. 3, p. 119.

22 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2006, a passenger tried to board a Southwest Airlines flight wearing a T-shirt picturing President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice with the caption Meet the Fockers After refusing to remove the shirt, she was escorted off the flight Source: Index on Censorship (2006) vol. 35, no. 1, p. 122.

23 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In February 2006, American newspapers in Philadelphia and Seattle reprinted caricatures of Prophet Mohammed Each newspaper had protests No arrests were made and protests were peaceful Source: Index on Censorship (2006) vol. 35, no. 2, p. 197.

24 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In March 2006, the FBI spied on Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice in Pittsburgh An FBI memo obtained by the ACLU through Freedom of Information laws said the center was “a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism” Source: Index on Censorship (2006) vol. 35, no. 2, p. 197.

25 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2006, US Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey demanded the makers of TV show Baghdad ER to change the depiction of a US combat hospital Army spokeswoman said there was no attempt to censor the show Source: Index on Censorship (2006) vol. 35, no. 3, p. 120.

26 Political and Religious Freedom after 9/11 In 2007, the US military asked producers of TV series 24 to tone down scenes of torture The request was due to concerns about the US reputation abroad Source: Index on Censorship (2007) vol. 36, no. 2.


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