Waleed Bin Talal Laments Lack of Muslim Influence in US Media Corporations

Posted on September 1, 2010

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EP: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – As the mosque controversy in New York City continues to garner attention from major US media outlets, one wealthy Saudi billionaire, Prince AlWaleed Bin Talal, is lamenting the lack of influence Muslims have in shaping the discourse. “Its really unfortunate” he explained to reporters at one of his construction sites, “the way Islam and Muslims are being disgracefully misrepresented on American television is a real injustice. I really wish Muslims had more influence to shape that debate.” Waleed is the CEO and owner of Kingdom Holding Company, a Saudi-based investment group with billions of dollars in investments around the world including a $2.3 billion stake in News Corp, the company that owns Fox News.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who owns 7% of News Corp, wishes Muslims were in a better position to influence the media.

Waleed said that he hopes one day a Muslim will be in a position to make decisions about how the media depicts Islam and Muslims. “The media is such a powerful force, especially in the new 24-hour digital environment – if you are not shaping the narrative, then it is basically shaping you.” Kingdom Holding’s 7% ownership of News Corp makes it the second largest shareholder after Rupert Murdoch, the CEO and Chairman of the company.

Bin Talal is not immune to the controversy surrounding the mosque. On a recent Fox News broadcast, his Kingdom Holding company was implicated in funding the alleged radical Imam Faisal, the Imam behind the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, as well as other radical madrassas around the world. Bin Talal addressed the controversy by stating “If only someone was in a position to make those guys at Fox News speak the truth, it is really ridiculous what they can get away with.” The Prince was quick to change the subject to a topic he was more comfortable speaking about: his new “Mile High” tower, a construction project he is backing which, once built, will be the tallest building in the world. “If that is not progress, I don’t know what is” he remarked.

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