An American Jewish rabbi has produced a film declaring war against Islam. Rabbi Raphael Shore claims to have declared war on Western "Radical" Islam with the DVD he has prepared, "Obsession".
"Obsession" is a 2005 anti-Muslim propaganda film put together by controversial anti-Muslim figures to further the perceived divide between Western and Muslim audiences.
Just when the presidential elections were heating up in America this DVD film was distributed to millions of American families. 28 million copies of the film have been used as election material, being distributed in approximately 70 newspapers in what are known as "swing-states", i.e. those states in which no candidate has overwhelming support.
The front and back covers of the DVD containing this anti-Islam film prepared by the Jewish film producer contain startling claims and messages.
"Unique pictures taken from Arab television have been used in the film. This film shows you how the radicals are educated, making clear their real intentions. How they incite the universal jihad and their aim to rule the world"
"A Shadowy NGO: The Clarion Fund"
Obsession was distributed by the Clarion Fund, a charitable foundation that was established by the film producer Rabbi Raphael Shore as a non-profit organization. They present their primary focus to be "the most urgent threat of radical Islam," which they believe "is not adequately conveyed by the mainstream media".
As it is a charity, the Clarion Fund cannot be overtly political, but the website had earlier given space to John McCain. The Clarion foundation is connected to the Israeli Aish HaTorah network, which has been established to develop Jewish identity. There are Aish HaTorah branches both in Israel and in America.
Islamonline.net considers the fund "as a shadowy NGO".
Reactions from Muslims
Muslims from around the U.S have expressed their feelings to various media institutions over the past few weeks.
"The film goes beyond an honest critique of terrorism and radicalism," Ahmed Rehab, strategic communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told the Tampa Tribune on Sunday, September 21.
"They're exploiting the fear and hysteria in this country to try and sell a larger conflict that is essentially a religious conflict."
"It was a political ploy," Nadeem Salem, a financial adviser and member of the Muslim community in the city of Toledo, Ohio, told the Toledo Blade.
"The aim is to create hatred and fear of Islam and Muslims, making them a false national security threat among the general public."
Amjad Doumani, another Muslim citizen of Toledo, agrees that the obvious goal of the film is swaying the elections.
"I'm a little bit disappointed in all those newspapers that agreed to take money to distribute such a message of hate at this time."
Call to Moderation
Islamic Network Groups or ING, a powerful NGO based in San Jose, CA, has sent out mass mails encouraging interfaith partners to voice their concern over this unprecedented campaign of hate by signing on to an MPAC-Interfaith Alliance letter, which can be accessed at: www.mpac.org/article.php?id=711.
The letter represents a moral consensus between leaders of various faiths, who have "to voice (their) deep concern over the recent distribution of a deeply divisive and anger-provoking DVD." Clarifying the role of this DVD as "mischaracterizing Islam in a way that dehumanizes Muslims", the American religious leaders have stated that the film "serves as a divisive political ploy that undermines the integrity of American religious pluralism." They stress further that "it is the duty of every American to stand against those who would divide our common and cherished beliefs by inciting fear and furthering ignorant stereotypes."
Adopting a solution based on education and interfaith community engagement and dialogues, ING also offers to provide speakers or an interfaith panel to comment on the film in areas where Muslims encounter the film being screened in schools or libraries.
Website Against Obsession by "Hate Hurts America"
Hate Hurts America, which is another nonpartisan diverse community coalition that brings together Americans of various faiths, races, and backgrounds in a unified stance against hate, incitement, community divisiveness, and intolerance - particularly against America's minorities, has initiated website to systematically refute the claims of "Obsession".
It is reported that "Obsession" is not an honest critique of violent radicalism. Instead, it is a propaganda piece that seeks to cast a wide net of suspicion against Muslims by blurring the line between violent radicalism and mainstream Islam. As such, it does not call on credible experts and reputable scholars but resorts to shady characters like "former-terrorist" Walid Shoebat, who has made such outlandish statements as: "Islam is not the religion of God Islam is the devil."
The website can be accessed at www.obsessionwithhate.com.