It’s not only American networks providing non-stop coverage surrounding the death of Pope John Paul II, but Arab stations as well, sparking anger from Islamic extremists.
Satellite channels including Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and Dubai-based Al-Arabiya have been providing widespread information about the pontiff’s life and death since he died Saturday at the age of 84.
Documentaries have been airing throughout the Muslim world highlighting John Paul II’s appeals for peace and dialogue between all faiths and civilizations.
But according to Agence France-Presse, Islamic websites are filled with heated rhetoric, blasting the Arab networks for assigning the pope such importance.
One writer said viewers of Al-Jazeera were “annoyed” with continuous reports eulogizing the pontiff, whom the user described as an “old tyrant.”
“What is mortifying is that this hooligan channel pretends [to defend] Islam,” added the user, who wrote under the name Muhib al-Salihine on the Islamic News Network, a website often used by Islamist terrorists operating in Iraq.
“What is more humiliating – I think that it was Al-Arabiya channel – is that the imam of a mosque … praised the memory [of the pope],” said Seri Eddine le Libyen on the same site, according to the wire service.
“I have started to hate Al-Jazeera for the multiplicity of information on the grieving” for the pope, said another.
In Lebanon, half a dozen stations, including Al-Manar satellite television of the terror group Hezbollah, interrupted its regular programming to announce the death of the pope, and then began broadcasting live from the Vatican.
Iraq’s public network Iraqiya also broke in for coverage.
Hollywood Reporter notes the passing of the pope has become a magnet for coverage, across political boundaries.
“There was no CNN or World Wide Web in 1978, the last time the Catholic Church underwent a historic papal transition,” the paper states.
Meanwhile, an editorial in Italy’s Il Messagero newspaper says, “Karol Wojtyla would not have become Pope Wojtyla without the media. Something he was very much aware of. No one was as aware as he was of the importance of the media in our present time. Similarly no one, to the extent that he was, knew how to exploit with such amiable ruthlessness its immense potential.”