7 Things You Need to Know About Al Jazeera

Greatest hits from the new owners of Current TV...one al Qaeda recruiter called 'trustworthy,' and Hugo Chavez calls a 'model of honor'


Al Jazeera made a big move Wednesday, taking over former Al Gore’s Current TV in a major deal that will bring the Qatar-financed news source to millions of U.S. cable subscribers.

Current TV cofounder Joel Hyatt hailed the network’s “journalistic integrity” in a memo sent to staff, many of whom are likely to be cleared out by the oil-backed company as it forms a new network, possibly called “Al Jazeera America” or “beIN,” after Al Jazeera’s sports network. (Yes, Al Jazeera has a sports network.)

What to expect from such a network? We’ve compiled seven of Al Jazeera’s greatest hits to provide some clues:

1. Al-Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki praised Al Jazeera

Anwar Al-Awlaki (AP)

Al Jazeera received praise from Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American jihadist who was killed in a 2011 American drone attack. The al Qaeda leader defended Al Jazeera in a video recording shortly before his death.

2. Egyptian Salafist Muhammad al-Zawahiri justified 9/11 in an Al Jazeera appearance

Egyptian Salafist Muhammad al-Zawahiri, brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, appeared on the network in 2012 to justify the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in which some 3,000 Americans were murdered.

3. Al Jazeera staffers chanted ‘down with fascist America’ on air

After some of the network’s staff members were detained at Guantanamo Bay following terrorism charges, an Al Jazeera anchor openly expressed solidarity with his “brother” while on the air, the New York Sun reported in 2005:

On November 25, 2005, Al-Jazeera covered an anti-American demonstration of enraged people cursing America and President Bush.

“Down with fascist America!” “Bush is a criminal! … He should collapse and be trampled on!” “Al-Jazeera … exposed Bush and his despicability!” the crowd chanted. Such scenes are not uncommon in the Middle East—but in this case, the demonstrators were Al-Jazeera staff in Ramallah.

Other employees of the network—which, at the last minute, has changed its name to Al-Jazeera English—hold the distinction of being jailed at Guantanamo Bay and around the world for their connections with terror organizations. In an al Qaeda Internet news broadcast last year, an anchor even expressed solidarity with his jailed “brother,” who works for the network.

4. Sudan’s president slammed the U.S. government’s human rights record on Al Jazeera

The Sudanese president and radical Islamist Omar al-Bashir slammed the U.S. government’s human rights and justice record on Al Jazeera in March of 2012. Al-Bashir is an internationally sanctioned war criminal.

5. Hugo Chavez called Al Jazeera a “model of honor, bravery, and the fight for justice”


Al Jazeera is the network of choice for anti-American world leaders, including President Chavez of Venezuela. In 2006 Chavez expressed amazement with the network’s staff and commended them for being “a model of honor, bravery, and the fight for justice.”

6. Al Jazeera aired a series of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi speeches on how the Jews deserved to be punished by Hitler

Al Jazeera aired a series of speeches in 2009 by Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi in which he said Jews deserved to be punished by Hitler and he hopes the “next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

7. Al Jazeera interviewed Afghan Mujahideen leader on Osama bin Laden’s death: Americans “barbarians, who mutilate bodies”

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (AP)

Al Jazeera has interviewed notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who said that Americans are “barbarians, who mutilate bodies” when describing Osama bin Laden’s death.