Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against The West
The movie begins with the following statement:
"This is a film about radical Islamic terror. A dangerous ideology, fueled by religious hatred. It’s important to remember most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror. This is not a film about them. This is a film about a radical worldview, and the threat it poses to us all, Muslim and non-Muslim alike."
Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West is a 2005 documentary film about the perceived threat of radical Islam to Western civilization. The film makes use of extensive Arab television footage depicting Islamic radicals preaching hate speech and seeking to incite global jihad. It also draws parallels between World War II’s Nazi movement and Islamism and the West’s response to those threats.
Wayne Kopping of South Africa co-wrote and directed the film. Raphael Shore, a Canadian-Israeli, co-wrote and produced the film, and is the founder of The Clarion Fund, the film’s distributor. The movie has received praise from some personalities in the media such as Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, but others criticized it as Islamophobic with a political agenda, and for its association with pro-Israeli groups.
Segments of the movie were broadcast on CNN Headline News and in several specials on Fox News. The movie was also screened on 30 college campuses and Capitol Hill. The unusual distribution of 28 million free Obsession DVDs as an insert in over 70 newspapers predominantly in swing states before the United States 2008 presidential election, garnered much attention, with 5 newspapers refusing to distribute the DVD. National Public Radio reported that it was unclear as to who funded Clarion’s distribution of the DVD.
The film uses many images from Arab TV, provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute and Palestinian Media Watch.
The following persons were interviewed in the movie:
- Nonie Darwish – Egyptian-American human rights activist
- Alan Dershowitz – American lawyer, jurist, and political commentator
- Steven Emerson – American journalist and author
- Brigitte Gabriel – Lebanese American journalist, author, and activist
- Martin Gilbert – British historian and author
- Caroline Glick – American-Israeli journalist
- Alfons Heck – was interviewed as a former member of Hitler Youth
- Glen Jenvey – British journalist
- John Loftus – American author, former US government prosecutor and former Army intelligence officer
- Salim Mansur – Indian-Canadian columnist
- Itamar Marcus – Israeli political activist, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch
- Daniel Pipes – American writer, and political blogger
- Tashbih Sayyed – Pakistani-American scholar, journalist, and author
- Walid Shoebat – Palestinian immigrant to the United States, interviewed as a former PLO militant
- Khaled Abu Toameh – Israeli Arab journalist and documentary filmmaker
- Robert Wistrich – professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Khaleel Mohammed
Khaleel Mohammed, an associate professor of religious studies at San Diego State University and the only Islamic Studies Professor interviewed discussed the meaning of jihad and its misuse by extremists.Mohammed later distanced himself and apologised for his participation claiming he had believed the film would be “used objectively, focusing on (the) fanatics who seek to spread violence” rather than Islam itself.
According to the documentary’s website, the film was received enthusiastically. Glenn Beck (CNN) described “Obsession” as “one of the most important movies of our lifetime”.Emmett Tyrrell (CNN) wrote that “Obsession,” is “one of the most riveting films about the struggle the civilized world faces”, while Kyra Phillips encouraged CNN Newsroom viewers to see the movie which according to her “provides an incredible education”. Additional endorsements were published on Fox News, on Townhall, in National Review,in Front Page Magazine,in The Times Gazette (OH) and on conservative radio programs such as The Rush Limbaugh Show, the highest-rated talk radio show in the United States.
The films depiction of radical Islam and Islamists was criticized by others as Islamophobic with a political agenda. Initially supplied to college campses for free screenings, the DVD ignited controversy with 30 airing the film while several declined including the State University of New York at the request of Jewish groups. Students attending the screenings at New York University were required to register with IsraelActivism.com with photographs of the event forwarded to Hasbara Fellowships, an organization that brings students to Israel and trains them to be effective pro-Israel activists on college campuses. The forwarding of names was criticised for stifling dissent and intimidating people.
The DVD was released to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks with a large targeted distribution just before the 2008 United States presidential election which was seen by many as an attempt to influence the election. The timing of the release and the unrevealed funding for the distribution, estimated to have cost around $50 million, has stimulated controversy and speculation.
The film has been criticized for “portraying Islam as a threatening religion bent on the destruction of Western civilization, interspersing incendiary commentary with images of Nazis and suicide bombing indoctrination”.The Jewish Telegraphic Agency wrote: “Producers of the documentary insist that it only targets a radical minority among Muslims; however, a number of the interviewees in the documentary are on the record as describing Islam as inherently prone to hegemony.”
Rabbi Jack Moline, the Spiritual Leader of the Agudas Achim Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in Alexandria, Virginia, described Obsession as “the protocols of the learned elders of Saudi Arabia.” Aish HaTorah has been criticized by Rabbi Moline over its close links with The Clarion Fund. On the matter of the shared staff between Aish HaTorah and the Clarion Fund, Rabbi Moline was quoted as saying “It is distressing to me that they [Aish HaTorah] would continue to have someone who has promulgated such awful, awful stuff sitting on their board or staff.”
The left-wing group Hate Hurts America, launched a campaign against the film titled “Obsession for Hate,” calling it a “classic work of hate propaganda, thinly disguised as a critique of radicalism, that attempts to subliminally demonize Muslims and their faith wholesale.”
In Dearborn, Michigan, local religious leaders called a free screening of the documentary on September 11, 2008 a divisive publicity stunt.Joe Wierzbicki of the King Media Group, Russo Marsh & Rogers, and the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, said: “There is a problem with an acceptance of radical Islam in Dearborn more so than anywhere else than I know of,” according to the Detroit Free Press, quoting Wierzbicki as a spokesman for a California-based public relations company hired to promote the film. Wierzbicki later said Right Reel, a distributor of conservative films, hired him.
The Associated Press reports that the Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked for the Federal Election Commission to investigate the Clarion Fund’s DVD distribution claiming that it was an attempt to influence the 2008 US Presidential Election. As evidence of inappropriate political bias on the part of The Clarion Fund, AP cited Patriot News of Harrisburg, Pa. reporting “that a Clarion Fund Web site ran a pro-McCain article before it attracted notice and was taken down.” Ari Morgenstern, a spokesman for Middle East Truth, said targeting swing states was designed to attract media attention, but is not meant to influence the election result. Gregory Ross, spokesman for the New York-based Clarion Fund stated: “We are not telling people who to vote for, we’re just saying no matter who gets in office, the American people should know radical Islam is a real threat to America. We don’t feel radical Islam is getting its fair share of press.”
The Endowment for Middle East Truth withdrew support for promoting the film.
After a showing on November 13, 2007 at the University of Florida, the Gainesville campus was rocked by controversy over the film. A forum entitled “Radical Islam Wants You Dead” was sponsored by Law School Republicans, prompting Patricia Telles-Irvin, the University’s vice president of student affairs, to call for apology for “promoting a negative stereotype”. Faculty and community members were split over the situation’s inherent free speech issues. In a December 13 opinion editorial, the Tampa Tribune criticized Telles-Irvin’s criticism on constitutional grounds and called for Patricia Telles-Irvin’s replacement.
Think tank researcher Jennifer Bryson gave the film a mixed review, saying that while it does show how, “Islamist radicalism poses a grave threat to the freedoms of constitutional democracies, the film largely ignores potential solutions and a host of moderate Islamic voices that have gone unheard.”
ALSO SEE: “Occupation 101”: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/84550466313/occupation-101-voice-of-the-silenced-majority
ALSO SEE: “Israel Is Racist State”: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/84551216848/israel-is-a-racist-state-by-joel-northam-in
ALSO SEE: “Fahrenheit 911”: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/86272390718/fahrenheit-911-fahrenheit-9-11-is-a
ALSO SEE: “U.S. Soldier Speaks Out Against War In Iraq”: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/70030114511/a-u-s-soldier-speaks-out-against-the-u-s-wars-in
ALSO SEE: “Child Causalities As A Result Of Drone Strikes”: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/85341363103/re-post-child-causalities-as-a-result-of-u-s
ALSO SEE: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/91784059723