I recently watched the 30th anniversary DVD edition of the film “The Message,” which is Moustapha Akkad’s groundbreaking Hollywood production of the story of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In addition to including both the English and Arabic versions of the film, the new DVD edition also has English and Arabic audio commentary from Akkad, as well as a short documentary on how the film was made.

The Prophet’s story has always been my absolute favorite. I have read his biography dozens of times, listened to tapes about his life, and have heard countless lectures and Friday sermons about his life and his struggles to bring Islam to the world. Watching “The Message” was a dream comes true.

The film truly takes you back into that time and makes you understand what it was like at the very beginning of the mission of the Prophet. It made me truly understand how painful it was for Ammar ibn Yasser, one of the Prophet’s companions, who saw his parents killed before his eyes and then buckled under the pressure of unbearable torture and cursed the Prophet. And the scene of the Prophet entering Medina on his emigration, with all the joyful believers singing and dancing, always brings tears to my eyes.

And this is why my soul burns with anger when I think how Akkad, who did a great service to the world by making this film, died recently in the terrorist bombings of Amman, Jordan. This man, even though he was better known for making the “Halloween” series, had a truly noble goal: to help the West better understand Islam. He knew that the best way to do so was through the silver screen, and that’s why he made this marvelous film. And he was killed by “Muslims” who murdered him in their quest to “defend the sanctity of Islam.”

What shame, what madness.

My anger grew even stronger when I listened to his audio commentary on the DVD. He explained how difficult it was trying to get this movie shown in theaters across the Arab and Muslim worlds, as well as in America. He worked so hard on this true jihad–spiritual struggle–for the sake of Islam. And he was killed by “holy warriors” who call their satanic act of murder “jihad.”

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