By Hilary White

TORONTO, July 24, 2007 ( – Last week, Toronto’s Vision Television, the “multi-faith” non-profit broadcaster, apologised for having aired a program July 14 featuring a well-known Islamic extremist, in which the extremist called for “jihad”. The day after the apology and a promise to “review” its policies, due to what a spokesman said was an error, Vision ran a second program by the same man, Israr Ahmad.

Ahmad, a Pakistani Muslim teacher and writer, is known for his ties to terrorism and his extreme anti-semitism. He has labelled Jews “parasites,” described the Holocaust as “divine punishment,” and called on Islamic followers to anticipate the “global domination of Islam,” and the “total extermination” of Jews.

Ahmad said, “Jihad in the way of Allah, for the cause of Allah can be pursued either with your financial resources or your bodily strength when you go to fight the enemy in the battlefield… So jihad, the highest form, is fighting in the cause of Allah.”

Vision initially defended its airing of the program and saw nothing wrong in what Ahmad said. The National Post reports that Mark Prasuhn, VisionTV’s chief operating officer and vice-president of programming, stated “Ahmad does make the point about, you either contribute financially or through your body, and he uses the word fight. But none of this, as far as I could see, is in any way correlated or referenced to the present day. It is strictly a historical context and reading of the Koran by a Koranic scholar.”

The Post report goes on to state “Mr. Prasuhn said the show was screened before it was aired and that no problems were identified. He said he watched the show again after receiving a complaint on Monday and did not see a problem. ‘He is saying that Muslims have a duty to propagate their faith,’ Mr. Prasuhn said.” 

  Prasuhn went on to even further justify this line of reasoning which it appears few others have accepted given Ahmad’s clear history of advocating violent jihad and the widespread understanding that among today’s Islamists jihad calls for brutal violence.

After the second broadcast, Vision issued an apology, promised that Ahmad would not appear again and pledged to set up a “task force” to examine its procedures and policies.

Canadian Jewish Congress spokesman Bernie Farber told the National Post, “We are deeply concerned that Vision would give this individual the imprimatur of Vision’s credibility.”

Apparently unimpressed with the promise of monitoring and a task force, the National Post blasted the broadcaster in an editorial today, pointing out that Vision’s “relativism” “comes across as hypocrisy”.

“Since its inception, Vision TV has shown a pronounced liberal bias,” the Post editorial reads. The editorial cites the episode in 1995 when well known US Christian evangelist and pro-family activist Jerry Falwell threatened to pull his programming after Vision censored his comments on homosexuality and “gay marriage.”

“…[T]he channel’s own original programming has been dominated by schismatic Catholics (those who favour female ordination, for instance,) and United Churchers who question the divinity of Christ or who favour gay marriage,” said the Post’s editorial. 

Professing the doctrine of religious toleration, the broadcaster claims to hold a neutral, non-judgemental viewpoint on various religious doctrines. But many traditionally minded Christians have complained of Vision’s longstanding opposition to traditional Christian religious belief.

A small selection of programs that have angered Catholics have featured homosexual priests blasting Catholic teaching on sexual purity and notorious abortionist Henry Morgentaler soliloquising on his “struggle” for legalised abortion.

Despite the fact that the Catholic Church has paid the broadcaster over $700,000 a year to produce its national Daily Mass program, one of its most popular shows, these programming policies have continued. Last year Vision produced the big-budget miniseries “The Secret Files of the Inquisition” perpetuating some of the most notorious anti-Catholic “black legends”.

Despite numerous complaints, however, Vision has never issued any retraction or apology to conservative evangelicals or Catholics. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church continues to pay Vision hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to broadcast its daily Mass to the nation’s Catholics on a network that is decidedly very hostile to authentic Catholicism and other traditional Christian denominations.

Read related coverage:

Over $700,000 Catholic Church Funds to Canadian Anti-Catholic TV Network Questioned
  Catholic-Supported Canadian TV Station Attacking Church Yet Again

Vision TV Moving toward More Openly Anti-Catholic Bias


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