Banned by PBS: Muslims Against Jihad

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Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center was a documentary produced for PBS's series America at a Crossroads. It came to prominence when producer Martyn Burke, dissatisfied with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's refusal to air the documentary unless he made certain changes, accused the organization of not wanting to air it for political reasons. Burke objected to pressure from one of PBS's executives who argued that the moderates portrayed in the film should not be considered true Muslims.[1][2][3][4]

PBS argued, in response, that there was not enough room to air this particular documentary as part of the series, citing there were only 11 hours of airtime with 21 approved film projects.[5] Corporation for Public Broadcasting replied that the 'film simply needs work but stands a chance to be aired eventually as a "stand-alone" program in the future.' [6] CPB representative Michael Leavy said the film violated PBS standards and the grant agreement, but did not claim in what way the film fell short of the standards, citing CPB is only responsible for funding programs, not their content. PBS executives reportedly sent notes to the producers, saying the film would 'demonize Islam.' On April 25, 2007, Islam vs. Islamists was reviewed by Members of Congress, sponsored by Joe Lieberman, James Inhofe, and Reps. Trent Franks, Brad Sherman. A day later, Franks drafted a letter urging PBS to air the documentary removed by PBS.[7]

The episode that was dropped from the initial PBS series but was ultimately picked up by Fox News Channel, who promoted it as Banned by PBS: Muslims Against Jihad. The unedited documentary, along with interviews with the producers, was aired on July 7, 2007. Later, it was distributed by the Portland PBS affiliate (Oregon Public Broadcasting) and aired on most PBS stations across the country.[8]

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