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Inside Move: Muddled ‘Mission’

Controversial quizzer stirs Mideast

Whoever said the Middle East was conservative?

A spate of wild TV gameshows has been giving contestants the chance to win everything from a virtual trip to Jerusalem to a husband.

The most controversial has been Al Manar TV’s quiz show “The Mission,” in which contestants win points that translate into steps toward the holy city of Jerusalem and win prizes valued at up to $3,000.

The twist is that Al Manar is the official TV channel of Lebanese militant group Hizbollah.

Critics say the show, which includes questions on the Arab-Israeli conflict, is simply part of Al Manar’s program of propaganda and anti-Semitic. One senior U.S. official in the region was quoted in the New York Times saying it should have been called “Name Your Favorite Terrorist.”

Al Manar spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi refutes those charges.

“This is simply a gameshow that supports the Palestinians in their just struggle against the Occupation,” he says. “This show consists of 70 questions each episode — only five of these questions deal with Palestine.”