Arab American News
February 7, 1997
WASHINGTON, DC According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has issued a document that challenges the credibility and credentials of Khalid Duran, a widely-quoted “expert” on Islamic revivalism who was editorial consultant for the controversial 1994 PBS program “Jihad in America.” (“Jihad in America” put forward the theory of a U.S.-based “Islamic fundamentalist” network that allegedly supports international terrorism. At the time of the program’s release, Muslim organizations around the country criticized both the unsubstantiated nature of the allegations and the anti-Muslim bias of the program’s producer.)
The challenge to Duran’s credibility as an expert came following a complaint against accusations, similar to those made in “Jihad in America,” contained in a May 12, 1996, broadcast of the French-language Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/Radio-Canada program Dimanche Magazine. In that program, Duran was quoted in support of allegations that painted the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) as part of a “fundamentalist Islamic network.”
Members of the Muslim community in Canada issued a point-by-point rebuttal to the program’s alleged inaccuracies and distortions. Following consultations with more than 30 academics and other experts, including Sheila McDonough of Concordia University (called “the most qualified person in Canada”) and two unnamed Canadian Security Intelligence Service analysts, the CBC Ombudsman issued his report.
The ombudsman’s findings supported many of the Muslim complaints about the program, clarified some issues and defended the program’s producers on other points. (The conclusion stated that the reporter “…failed to uphold the principle of accuracy which…requires detailed and complete research.”) But the report’s strongest language was reserved for the analysis of Khalid Duran’s credibility. The CBC Ombudsman, Mr. Mario Cardinal, said, “I, too, have very serious doubts about his knowledge of the Canadian Muslim reality and, particularly, his professional motivations.” Some of Mr. Cardinal’s other findings: (All are direct quotes from the report.)
1) “Contrary to what Danny Braun (the reporter) said, he (Duran) does not teach at American University in Washington.”
2) “He has taught at Temple University in Philadelphia but, according to Ms. McDonough, he was dismissed for professional misconduct. When we asked Mr. Duran himself about this matter, he said he teaches at a university in Louisville, Kentucky.”
3) “A second factor which does not contribute much to Mr. Duran’s credibility is the mystery surrounding his true identity. His real name is not Duran. `That’s my mother’s name,’ he told me. His father, whose name he wishes to withhold, was Moroccan, but Mr. Duran was born in Berlin, which is the reason for his German passport… When asked about his real name, he remains vague.”
4) “A third factor that undermines his credibility…is that he was sentenced in 1993 for making defamatory comments about the Islamic Center of Aachen, (Aix-la-Chapelle) in Germany. His sentence was to retract his statements or pay a heavy fine or, failing that, to go to prison…following this sentence, he was ousted from the Institute for Oriental Studies in Hamburg…”
5) “Finally, the fact that Mr. Duran was closely involved with Jihad in America…leads us once again to question his real motivations…Mr. Emerson (Jihad’s producer) and Mr. Duran were among the first experts to link the Oklahoma City explosion to the Muslims.”
6) “I would also like to point out that the Institute for International Studies, which Mr. Duran heads in Washington…has no ties with any university and is funded by private foundations.”
Article Courtesy: wrmea.org
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