REJECTED BY PBS, FILM ON ISLAM REVIVED BY CPB
In an unprecedented move, the agency that oversees public broadcasting has stepped in to arrange distribution for a TV documentary on Islam that PBS had rejected as unworthy.
The federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting helped find a new distributor for "Islam vs. Islamists: Voices From the Muslim Center" after seven Republican members of Congress and one Democrat demanded that CPB ask PBS to air it or release it elsewhere.
The 52-minute film contends that moderate Muslims are being intimidated by radical Islamists in several Western democracies, including the United States.
The dispute over the film thrust CPB into the middle of a politically charged affair. The film's producers claim that PBS and its producing station, WETA, both of Arlington, are kowtowing to conservative Muslims in "suppressing" the film. In an interview yesterday, Frank Gaffney Jr., one of the film's executive producers, said PBS and WETA were predisposed against it on personal and ideological grounds.
"I am a person they regard as a conservative, and they regard the airwaves as a liberal domain," said Gaffney, a former Reagan administration defense official who now runs the Center for Security Policy.
WETA and PBS officials denied this yesterday. "We had no problem with the concept or ideology," said WETA spokeswoman Mary Stewart. "It was about filmmaking and documentary standards. We had no problem with the argument laid out in the film."