Latest from Alana Goodman
NBC has announced that it has named the developer of the controversial Islamic prayer center near Ground Zero, Sharif el-Gamal, one of the network’s “People of the Year.” El-Gamal will sit down for an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer on Thanksgiving night.
The prayer center, known as Park51, has sparked outrage and massive protests from people who say that building a mosque so close to the site of the World Trade Center attacks is disrespectful to 9/11 victims and their families.
NBC’s previous coverage of Park51 has sometimes come off as insensitive to the people who object to the prayer center’s construction. Last August, NBC anchor Mika Brzezinski referred to Park51 opponents as people “who don’t care about the Constitution.”
In the new issue of Vanity Fair, legendary singer Cher dished about her feelings on Sarah Palin and Arizona governor Jan Brewer. And – surprise! – she’s not a fan of either.
“I got so obsessed with [C-SPAN] that it was kind of interfering with my life,” Cher told the magazine. “Sarah Palin came on, and I thought, Oh, f---, this is the end. Because a dumb woman is a dumb woman.”
The “I Got Your Babe” singer was even harsher on Brewer, who spearheaded the recent immigration crackdown in Arizona.
“She was worse than Sarah Palin, if that is possible,” said Cher. “This woman was like a deer in headlights. She’s got a handle on the services of the state, and I would not let her handle the remote control.”
According to novelist Salman Rushdie, Comedy Central star Jon Stewart appears to be unapologetic for featuring Muslim extremist folk singer Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf Islam) at his Rally to Restore Sanity last Saturday. Stevens has previously supported a long-standing Islamic death sentence against Rushdie.
Standpoint magazine’s Nick Cohen spoke to Rushdie this morning, who told him that: “I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam's appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.”
After Rushdie penned The Satanic Verses in 1988, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him, claiming that the book was “blasphemous against Islam.”
Stevens, a Muslim convert, has reiterated his support for the death sentence on multiple occasions, most recently in 1997. When asked during a 1989 interview whether he would take part in a protest that burned Rushdie in effigy, Stevens replied that “I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.” The singer has never apologized for endorsing the fatwa.
If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences goes ahead with its plan to award French filmmaker Jean Luc Godard an honorary Oscar on Nov. 13, Hollywood will be celebrating a man who defends Palestinian terrorism and who regularly equates Israel with Nazi Germany.
The filmmaker, renowned for his avant-garde “French New Wave” films, has described Israel as “a cancer on the map of the Middle East.” He has also suggested that the Jews murdered during the Holocaust had actually committed suicide in order to arouse international sympathy and bring about the formation of Israel.