Egyptian Magazine Claims 2 High Ranking Homeland Security Officials are Muslim Brotherhood Operatives

Egyptian Magazine Claims 2 High Ranking Homeland Security Officials are Muslim Brotherhood Operatives

Posted By Daniel Greenfield in The Point


It’s hard to secure the homeland, when your homeland security consists of the very people who are a threat to the homeland.

An Egyptian magazine claims that six American Islamist activists who work with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy.

The Dec. 22 story published in Egypt’s Rose El-Youssef magazine suggests the six turned the White House “from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The six named people include: Arif Alikhan, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for policy development; Mohammed Elibiary, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council; Rashad Hussain, the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Salam al-Marayati, co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and Eboo Patel, a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.

Elibiary, who has endorsed the ideas of radical Muslim Brotherhood luminary Sayyid Qutb, may have leaked secret materials contained in Department of Homeland Security databases, according to the magazine. He, however, denies having any connection with the Brotherhood.

Elibiary also played a role in defining the Obama administration’s counterterrorism strategy, and the magazine asserts that Elibiary wrote the speech Obama gave when he told former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave power but offers no source or evidence for the claim.

So before the Muslim Brotherhood overthrew the Egyptian government, they overthrew the American government.

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Massachusetts church gives “Social Justice Award” to convicted jihad terrorist Tarek Mehanna

Massachusetts church gives “Social Justice Award” to convicted jihad terrorist Tarek Mehanna

Suicide of the West Update. “Sudbury man convicted on terrorism charges receives award,” by Sara Mulkeen for The MetroWest Daily News, January 6 (thanks to Mackie):

BOSTON — Former Sudbury resident Tarek Mehanna was granted the 36th annual Sacco & Vanzetti Social Justice Award Sunday from the Community Church of Boston for his struggle as a seeker of justice.Following discussions on America’s history of oppressed people, Mehanna’s father, mother, brother and sister-in-law accepted the award on his behalf.

Mehanna is serving a 17-1/2 –year sentence at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind. He was convicted in 2011 on various terrorism-related charges after federal prosecutors said he traveled to Yemen to seek training in a terrorist camp in order to fight U.S. soldiers in Iraq and translated texts for terror groups.

The crowd of about 60 people at the Sunday morning service listened to a recording of Mehanna’s sentencing statement, in which he maintained his innocence, saying that although he advocates for Muslim’s right to self defense, he did not conspire to kill Americans.


Meanwhile, his family and supporters retailed some of the lurid fantasies so favored among Islamic supremacists, of a a viciously “Islamophobic” FBI and a bigoted, rogue judge desperate to railroad a man who refused to play their hateful game:

Mehanna’s father, Ahmed Mehanna, said he wrote a three-page letter to US District Judge George A. O’Toole, who handed down the sentence in Mehanna’s case.”The judge was from the get go … had the mind to convict him,” Ahmed said.

Members of the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee rallied on behalf of Mehanna, who they said is a “political prisoner and target of FBI persecution.”

Congressional Director Linda Jenkins called the evidence against Mehanna “laughable” and suggested the real reason for his arrest was that he was a politically outspoken Muslim who refused to collude with the FBI….

Pushing Back Against Stealth Jihad Charter Schools

Pushing Back Against Stealth Jihad Charter Schools

Posted By Arnold Ahlert    Daily Mailer,FrontPage


Americans may not realize it yet, but Turkey’s regression from a secular democracy into an Islamic state may be based on an educational movement that has also taken root in America. Imam Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen Movement (GM) have had enormous influence in setting the increasingly Islamist agenda of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Much of this is due to GM’s vast empire of media entities, financial institutions, banks and business organizations. But the most critical component of this empire is educational institutions. In Turkey, 75 percent of the nation’s two million preparatory school students are enrolled in Gülen institutions. In America, GM runs the largest charter school network in the nation. Such an empire is slowly receiving the kind of scrutiny–and pushback from concerned Americans–that it deserves.

The principals and school board members of GM charter schools are primarily Turkish men. Hundreds of Turkish teachers have been admitted to the United States using H-1B visas, because the schools claim qualified Americans cannot be found. Moreover, an examination of federal tax forms and school documents reveals that GM charter schools tend to purchase a substantial portion of their goods and services from Gülenist businesses.

This symbiotic relationship is occurring in many areas around the nation. For example, a trio of GM schools in Georgia are currently in the spotlight because they defaulted on a $19 million bond issue. An audit revealed the schools improperly granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for purchases like T-shirts, teacher training, and video production services from organizations with connections to school officials, or Gülen followers, or to businesses and groups with ties to the Gülen Movement. In some cases, bidding requirements were ignored. “I would just question how those vendors were selected when price in many instances wasn’t part of the decision making,” said Fulton County superintendent Robert Avossa.

In Texas, similar allegations have been aimed at the Cosmos Foundation, a charter school operator founded a decade ago by a group of professors and businessmen from Turkey. The group, currently using the name Harmony Schools, has become the biggest charter operation in the state, and while its primary mission is educating schoolchildren, it has forged ongoing relationships with a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants. Some of those founders, as well as school operators, and many of their business suppliers, are followers of Fethullah Gülen.

Harmony receives more than $100 million a year in taxpayer funds. When questioned how that money was spent with regards to awarding contracts, Harmony produced a list showing that local American companies had been awarded only 13 construction and renovation jobs over several years. On the other hand, a New York Times review of contracts since January 2009, totaling 35 contracts and $82 million worth of work, revealed that all but 3 jobs worth about $1.5 million went to Turkish-owned businesses. Such contracts included an $8.2 million deal awarded to TDM Contracting to build the Harmony School of Innovation during the company’s very first month in business. Such “good fortune” is in direct contrast to established local companies that claimed they weren’t awarded contracts, despite bidding several hundred thousand dollars lower.

One of those companies is Atlas Texas Construction and Trading, a Houston-based contractor with offices in Texas and Turkey. Atlas was awarded two contracts by Cosmos in Texas, the fairness of which was questioned by local contractors, who wondered why the company got both jobs when it was underbid by one company on one job, and four on the other. Atlas showed up on a list of Gülen-affiliated companies in a 2006 cable from the American Consul General in Istanbul, released by WikiLeaks. In Louisiana, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in eastern New Orleans is linked to a bribe offer allegedly made by Inci Akpinar — the vice president of Atlas.

Other possible sources of income for the GM movement were revealed in a 2011 report by the Philadelphia Inquirer. They revealed that the FBI is investigating a GM charter school employee kickback scheme, aimed at funding the larger GM movement.

Operators of Gülen-based charter schools stress over and over that their charters hew to state-mandated curriculums. Yet in Inver Grove Heights, MN, a substitute teacher named Amanda Getz claims the Tarek Ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) maintained no separation between academics studied during school and Islamic studies afterward. She also claims she was instructed to take students in fours to the bathroom for “ritual washing” before lunch on Fridays (the Muslim holy day), after which, “teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap” led the students in Muslim prayers. She further revealed that while religious instruction is not part of the “school day,” most students stay after — perhaps because school buses don’t leave until the Islamic studies are over.

Concerned Americans have begun to push back. In Austin, Texas, a protest rally was organized in August 2011 against the Harmony School of Political Science in that city. Rally organizer Donna Garner cited Fethullah Gülen’s influence in changing Turkey from pro- to anti-American, the link between Cosmos/Harmony/Atlas Construction in Texas and Louisiana’s Pelican schools, as well as concerns regarding how “teachers who can hardly speak English and are fresh from Turkey will present such historically significant elements as the Holocaust, the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.”

In Tennessee last May, Gov. Bill Haslam allowed a bill that limits the number of foreign workers at charter schools to become law without his signature. According to the bill, if a school wants 3.5 percent or more of its staff to be hired from among the foreign workers in the H1B or J-1 visa programs (with an exception for language teachers), it can now be refused a charter to operate by chartering authorities. American Muslim Advisory Council board member Sabina Mohyuddin from Tullahoma, labeled it “an anti-Muslim bill shrouded in anti-immigrant language.”

Last month in Loudoun, VA, applicants behind the proposed Loudoun Math and IT Academy in that city were peppered with questions from residents who were concerned that the proposed charter has ties to the Gülen Movement. Access Point Public Affairs’ Mindy Williams, who serves as the spokeswoman for the charter school applicants, along with School Board Vice Chairman Jill Turgeon and Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Janet Clarke, were met with a great amount of skepticism when they said they believed the school was not tied to Gülen or his movement. “I do think it’s very important that we’re absolutely sure there is no connection,” Clarke said, “but in all fairness, we can’t draw that connection when we don’t know quite yet.”

Perhaps they’re not looking hard enough. At an earlier meeting, it was pointed out that Ali Bicak is one of the founding members of Chesapeake Science Point in Maryland, which has alleged ties to the Gülen Movement and is ostensibly the school after which the Loudoun Math and IT Academy is modeled. Fatih Kandil, listed as an applicant for the Loudoun charter school, is a former principal of Chesapeake Science Point and was the director of the Horizon Science Academy in Ohio, which has also been accused of ties with Gülen. “There’s a trend here I’m hoping you see,” said meeting attendee Rachel Sargent.

There is also a trend of top charter school officials denying ties to GM or Fethullah Gülen, who has himself denied any association with these schools. A 2010 column by USA Today’s Greg Toppo debunks that claim. After noting the rise of charter schools “established over the past decade by a loosely affiliated group of Turkish-American educators,” and further noting that the school’s top administrators “say they have no official ties to Gülen,” and that “Gülen himself denies any connection to the schools,” he reveals that “documents available at various foundation websites and in federal forms required of non-profit groups show that virtually all of the schools have opened or operate with the aid of Gülen-inspired ‘dialogue’ groups, local non-profits that promote Turkish culture.”

As previously reported, the most high profile news story about Gülen and the GM charter school operation was conducted by CBS’s “60 Minutes” last May. Despite their glowing story about a man “with millions upon millions of disciples who compare him to Ghandi and Martin Luther King,” and one who promotes “tolerance, interfaith dialog and above-all…education,” the network was forced to admit Gülen’s movement “does lack transparency: its funding, hierarchy, and ambitions remain hidden–leading our State Department to wonder in cables between Ankara and Washington if Gülen has an ‘insidious political agenda.’”

America’s track record in determining whether certain well-connected Muslims have an “insidious political agenda” is not encouraging. In 2001, shortly after 9/11, the former imam for the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA was invited to the Pentagon as part of the military’s Muslim outreach efforts following the attacks. Ten years later, that man — Anwar al-Awlaki, leader of “Al Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate,” in the words of President Obama — was killed by a drone strike in Yemen. In 1999, Turkish television aired footage of Gülen delivering sermons to a crowd of followers:

“You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria … like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it”

Thirteen years later, it remains a real possibility that Fethullah Gülen and the GM believe conditions are “ripening” for their stealth jihad in America, using charter schools as their vehicle. Yet slowly but surely, more parents are becoming concerned about the kind of education their children are really getting, even as more journalists are beginning to look into the unsavory relationships — funded by taxpayer dollars — between these schools, and a network of Turkish-based businesses tied to the GM. More questions are also being asked about the possible exploitation of the H-1B visa system used to give Turkish nationals teaching jobs that might otherwise go to Americans. The time is right for a comprehensive investigation of the GM charter school system, and Imam Fethullah Gülen.

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Stealth Islamist Charter Schools Under Investigation

Stealth Islamist Charter Schools Under Investigation

Posted By Arnold Ahlert   In Daily Mailer,FrontPage |


The charter school movement associated with Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen is under federal investigation

If one believes that the battle for the nation’s soul is occurring, not just in Washington, D.C., but in schools across the nation, the steady advance of Turkish-Gulen Charter Schools may be cause for alarm. Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish Islamic cleric who fled his native country in 1998, after being charged with seeking to overthrow the secular Turkish government. He currently lives in exile at a 28-acre mountain complex in the Pocono Mountains, with more than $25 billion of assets at his command. The 135 charter schools associated with the Gulen Movement (GM) enroll more than 45,000 students and comprise the largest charter school network in the United States — all of which are fully funded by American taxpayers. Fethullah Gulen has been under investigation by the government since 2011.

That investigation, carried out by FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education, is centered around charter school employees who are allegedly engaged in kicking back part of their salaries to the Muslim movement also known as Hizmet (service to others), founded by Gulen. Gulen initiated his movement in Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast, more than 40 years ago, preaching impassioned sermons to his followers, who may now number as many as six million. In Turkey, the Gulen Movement has been accused of pushing for a hardline Islamic state. Despite this reality, government officials investigating the kickback scheme are apparently satisfied that there is no religious agenda being disseminated in America. Their investigation is centered around the hundreds of Turkish teachers, administrators, and other staffers employed under the H1B visa program, who may or may not be misusing taxpayer money.

This would appear to be a stunningly naive approach to the issue. H1B visas allow US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations on a temporary basis. “Specialty occupations” are defined as “requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.” Gulen schools are among the nation’s largest users of the H1B visas. In 2009, they received government approvals for 684 visas. The Harmony School, a Gulen-related institution, has applied for more H1B visas than any educational institution in the country.

GM officials at some of the charter schools that ostensibly specialize in math and science, claim they need to fill teaching spots with Turkish teachers. At the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School in State College, Ruth Hocker, former president of the parents’ group, grew suspicious when certified American teachers began to be replaced by uncertified Turks with limited English-speaking skills who, despite that limitation, commanded higher salaries. Parents pointed out that these uncertified teachers were moved from one charter to another when their “emergency” credentials expired. They also spoke about a pattern of sudden turnovers of Turkish business managers, administrators, and board members.

Similar complaints arose in Texas, where it was revealed that hundreds of Turkish teachers and administrators were also working with H1B visas. In addition, the Harmony School group was using taxpayer money to fund Gulen’s movement via school construction and renovation projects. Despite assertions that the bidding process on those projects was fair, records showed that virtually all of the work has been done by Turkish-owned contractors, according to the New York Times.

A former teacher from Turkey revealed an ominous development, reportedly telling the FBI that the Gulen Movement had divided the United States into five regions, with a general manager in each who coordinates the activities of the schools, and related foundations and cultural centers.

All of the above raises the obvious question: if these schools are traditional American charter schools that do nothing more than “follow the state curriculum,” as Tansu Cidav, the acting CEO of the Truebright Science Academy in North Philadelphia contends, why is it necessary to hire foreign teachers and coordinate activities nationwide?

A federal document released in 2011 may provide the answer. It posits that Gulen’s charter schools may in fact be madrassahs, where students are “brain-washed” to serve as proponents of the New Islamic World Order Gulen purportedly seeks to create.

Former Muslim Brotherhood member Walid Shoebat illuminates the bigger picture. Shoebat, who was highly critical of a CBS “60 Minutes” report on Gulen (who refused to be interviewed for the piece), likens the cleric’s movement to the leftist Center for American Progress (CAP) And radical billionaire George Soros. “Both men are extremely wealthy, use that money to surreptitiously spread their ideologies, and like to operate behind the scenes as much as possible,” writes Shoebat.

The American Thinker’s Janet Levy takes it one step further. After noting that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan belongs to the AKP political party founded by Gulen upon his arrival in Pennsylvania, she points out that “Turkey is reverting to its historical Ottoman Empire-inspired Islamic fundamentalism,” even as “it is pursuing a stealth or cultural jihad against the West, in large part through the efforts of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic theologian.” In a 1999 video, Gulen himself spoke of a surreptitious plan for taking over the Turkish government: ”You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe … The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it[.]”

The movement is well on its way towards achieving that aim. GM is now active in 140 countries. Aside from its charter school empire, other interests including boarding schools, universities, banks, media companies, newspapers, charities, and think tanks.

60 Minutes reporter Leslie Stahl took the typically leftist, see-no-Islamist-evil approach towards complaints about the Gulen schools advancing an Islamic agenda in America, assuring viewers that he promotes “tolerance, inter-faith dialogue and, above all, he promotes education.” Yet even Stahl was forced to acknowledge that while Gulen “invites conspiracy theories that he’s running Turkey from the Poconos and is bent on global Muslim domination,” his movement “does lack transparency: its funding, hierarchy, and ambitions remain hidden–leading our State Department to wonder in cables between Ankara and Washington if Gulen has an ‘insidious political agenda.’”

This is not the first investigation conducted of Gulen’s empire. In 2008, members of the Netherlands’ Christian Democrat, Labor, and Conservative parties agreed to cut several million euros in government funding for organizations affiliated with Gulen. An investigation ensued when Erik Jan Zürcher, director of the Amsterdam-based International Institute for Social History, along with five former followers who had worked for Gulen, told Dutch television that the Gulen community was moving step-by-step to topple the secular order.

In Pennsylvania, neighbors of Gulen’s fortress retreat complain of hearing automatic gunfire and the drone of a surveillance helicopter that constantly searches for intruders. 100 Turkish guards stand watch over the property as well. If this man and his movement–which continues to expand–have nothing to hide, they have a remarkable way of showing it.

As a Turkish observer speaking to the New Republic noted, “No society would tolerate this big of an organization being this untransparent.” The FBI’s new investigation against Gulen’s organization brings us one step closer to exposing what goes on behind the closed doors of Gulen’s empire.

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Top Pakistani militant commander killed in US drone strike

Top Pakistani militant commander killed in US drone strike

Published January 03, 2013



April, 20, 2007: Pakistani militant commander Maulvi Nazir meets his associates in South Waziristan near the Afghani border. (AP)

An American drone strike in Pakistan has killed top Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir, a senior intelligence official confirms to

Nazir, along with five close associates, was killed in a US drone strike, which took place near the town of Wana in Sar Kanda area of Birmil of South Wazristan Agency, one of seven federally administered tribal areas where militants thrive.

“The information we have received from our ground sources confirmed the death,” a senior Pakistan Army Intelligence official told “The vehicle in which the key Taliban war lord was traveling in was struck by two missiles.”

The Pakistani official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

The U.S. rarely comments on its secretive drone program, and Pentagon spokesman George Little said he could not confirm Nazir’s death, but he added that if true, it would be “a significant blow” to extremist groups in the region.

He said it would be helpful not only to the U.S. and to Afghanistan but also to Pakistan, because “this is someone who has a great deal of blood on his hands.”

At least four people were killed in a separate drone strike Thursday in the North Waziristan tribal region.

America’s use of drones against militants in Pakistan has increased substantially under President Barack Obama, and the program killed a number of top militants in the past year.

But the drone strikes infuriate many Pakistanis who see them as a violation of their country’s sovereignty. Many Pakistanis complain that innocent civilians have also been killed, something the U.S. rejects.

Nazir’s killing could cause even more friction in the already-tense relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

He earned the enmity of the U.S. by sending fighters to attack American forces in neighboring Afghanistan. He’s also believed to have given shelter to Al Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion and has maintained close relations with Arab members of the militant group.

But in Pakistan, many members of the military had a more favorable view of Nazir and similar militant chiefs who focus their attacks in Afghanistan and don’t strike Pakistani targets. Pakistan is believed to have reached a nonaggression pact with Nazir ahead of its 2009 military operation against militants in South Waziristan.

Still, Nazir outraged many Pakistanis in June when he announced that he would not allow any polio vaccinations in territory under his control until the U.S. stops drone attacks in the region.

Pakistan is one of three countries where polio is still endemic. Nine workers helping in anti-polio vaccination campaigns were killed last month, and the killings this week of five female teachers and two aid workers may also have been linked to the immunization campaigns.

As many as 10,000 people attended Nazir’s funeral in the town of Angoor Adda, where the strike happened. One resident who was there, Ahmed Yar, said Nazir’s body was badly burned and his face was unrecognizable.

Reports of individual deaths in such cases are often difficult to verify independently.

Nazir was active in many parts of Afghanistan and had close ties with the Afghan Taliban, said Mansur Mahsud, the head of the Islamabad-based FATA Research Centre, which studies the tribal regions.

“His death is a great blow to the Afghan Taliban,” he said.

The Taliban is a widely diverse group. The Afghan Taliban is made up mostly of Afghans who fight against U.S. and NATO troops.

Within Pakistan, it’s a bit more complex. The Tehrik-e-Taliban is an umbrella group consisting of militants who have been fighting for the overthrow of the Pakistani government because they believe it’s too closely allied with the U.S. They would like to install a hard-line Islamist government and have been behind much of the violence tearing apart Pakistan in recent years.

Nazir and another senior Taliban commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, broke away from the TTP in 2009 and struck a truce with the Pakistani military. Instead they focus their fighters and money on battling U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Nazir was believed to be about 40 years old, with three children and property in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. One of his brothers was also killed in a drone strike. Nazir used to be a member of Hizb-e-Islami, a powerful militant Islamist group in Afghanistan run by former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Nazir had survived several assassination attempts, including at least two U.S. drone strikes.

Fox News’ Sib Kaifee and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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January 2, 2013, 4:42 pm

Al Jazeera Seeks a U.S. Voice Where Gore Failed

Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news giant, has long tried to convince Americans that it is a legitimate news organization, not a parrot of Middle Eastern propaganda or something more sinister.

It just bought itself 40 million more chances to make its case.

Al Jazeera on Wednesday announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore, a former vice president, and his business partners seven years ago. Al Jazeera plans to shut Current and start an English-language channel, which will be available in more than 40 million homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar.

For Al Jazeera, which is financed by the government of Qatar, the acquisition is a coming of age moment. A decade ago, Al Jazeera’s flagship Arabic-language channel was reviled by American politicians for showing videotapes from Al Qaeda members and sympathizers. Now the news operation is buying an American channel, having convinced Mr. Gore and the other owners of Current that it has the journalistic muscle and the money to compete head-to-head with CNN and other news channels in the United States.

Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current. Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But the deal was not signed until Wednesday.

A spokesman for Al Jazeera said that antitrust regulators had not expressed any objections to the deal.

Going forward, the challenge will be persuading Americans to watch – an extremely tough proposition given the crowded television marketplace and the stereotypes about the channel that persist to this day.

“There are still people who will not watch it, who will say that it’s a ‘terrorist network,’ ” said Philip Seib, the author of “The Al Jazeera Effect.” “Al Jazeera has to override that by providing quality news.”

With a handful of exceptions (including New York City and Washington), American cable and satellite distributors have mostly refused to carry Al Jazeera English since its inception in 2006. While the television sets of White House officials and lawmakers were tuned to the channel during the Arab Spring in 2011, ordinary Americans who wanted to watch had to find a live stream on the Internet.

To change that, Al Jazeera lobbied distributors and asked supporters to write letters to the distributors – but accomplished next to nothing.

Some activists accused distributors like Comcast and DirecTV of blacklisting a channel that is widely respected elsewhere in the world. But the distributors said there was scant evidence that many American viewers wanted to watch.

Current, similarly, has suffered from paltry ratings. “Nobody’s watching,” one of the channel’s prime-time hosts, Eliot Spitzer, quipped to a reporter last month.

Current was conceived in 2005 after Mr. Gore and another co-founder, Joel Hyatt, bought the small cable news channel Newsworld International. After several years in obscurity showing viewer-submitted videos and documentaries, Current tacked to the left in 2011 with the hiring of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. A year later, Mr. Olbermann was fired, but a channel made in his image remained, with Mr. Spitzer, Jennifer Granholm and other liberal pundits as hosts. But on a typical night last year, just 42,000 people watched their shows, according to Nielsen.

By selling Current, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt are giving up their vision for an alternative to MSNBC, which has much higher-rated liberal hosts.

On Wednesday, Mr. Hyatt praised Al Jazeera for “bringing large-scale resources to journalism – something which we have not been able to do.” In a letter to Current employees, some of whom are expected to lose their jobs, he said he and Mr. Gore would join the advisory board of the newly rebranded channel.

“We look forward to helping build an important news network,” Mr. Hyatt wrote.

Rather than simply use Current to distribute its existing English-language channel, Al Jazeera said it plans to create a channel based in New York. Tentatively titled Al Jazeera America, roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States, while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.

Al Jazeera, which has bureaus in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, intends to open several more in other American cities.

“There’s a major hole right now that Al Jazeera can fill. And that is providing an alternative viewpoint to domestic news, which is very parochial,” said Cathy Rasenberger, a cable consultant who has worked with Al Jazeera on distribution issues in the past. However, she warned, “there is a limited amount of interest in international news in the United States.”

And others are trying to elbow their way in. News channels financed by Britain, China and Russia are especially hungry for American cable deals. To date, the BBC has had the most success; its BBC World News channel is now available in about 25 million homes thanks to a deal struck last month with Time Warner Cable.

But the takeover of Current brings Al Jazeera to the front of the line. In recent weeks, Mr. Gore personally lobbied the distributors that carry Current on the importance of Al Jazeera, according to people briefed on the talks who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Distributors can sometimes wiggle out of their carriage deals when channels change hands. Most consented to the sale, but Time Warner Cable did not, Mr. Hyatt told employees.

Time Warner Cable had previously warned that it might drop Current because of its low ratings. It took advantage of a change-in-ownership clause and said in a terse statement Wednesday night, “We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”

Al-Qaeda Leader Calls for Muslims to Kidnap Westerners in Exchange for Imprisoned Jihadists

Al Qaeda Leader Ayman Al Zawahri Calls for Muslims to Kidnap Westerners in Exchange for Imprisoned Jihadists

The leader of Al-Qaeda is calling on Muslims to kidnap Westerners as a means to free imprisoned jihadists.

“We are seeking, by the help of Allah, to capture others and to incite Muslims to capture the citizens of the countries that are fighting Muslims in order to release our captives,” Ayman Al-Zawahri said in a more than two-hour video posted on militant web sites this week, Reuters reported.

The Egyptian-born jihadist called for the abductions as part of a vow not to “spare any efforts” to free Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, CNN reported. Abdel-Rahman is the so-called “blind sheikh” serving a life sentence in U.S. prison for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Al-Zawahri, who was No. 2 in Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden, also called for Muslims to support the uprising in Syria against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and to ensure that Egypt implements shariah law.

“The battle in Egypt is very clear. It is a battle between the secular minority that is allied with the church and that is leaning on the support of the army, who are made up by [former President Hosni] Mubarak and the Americans … and the Muslim ummah [nation] in Egypt that is seeking to implement shariah,” he said.

Al-Zawahri’s latest message came two weeks after he called for Muslims to wage holy war against the U.S. and Israel over an anti-Islam film the denigrated the Prophet Muhammad.

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