Beliefnet News

By David Harris
Religion News Service

Flint, Mich. – A movie being distributed as an advertising insert in more than 70 newspapers nationwide is drawing protests from Muslim groups who call it an attempt to stir up hate.
The movie, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War on the West,” argues that radical Islam is the greatest threat to American society and that 10 to 15 percent of the world’s more than 1 billion Muslims are “radical.”
“There’s no other goal to it other than that these people hate Muslims,” said Abdelmajid Jondy, president of the Flint Islamic Center. The filmmakers “want to make everybody hate the Muslims.”
The film was made by the New York non-profit organization Clarion Fund, which was formed in 2006 to address threats to America’s security, said Gregory Ross, director of communications.
The advertisement, which included a video of the movie, was disseminated in several competitive states in the upcoming presidential election, including Michigan, Ohio and Florida, according to the list of newspapers included in the ad.
Some have argued that the movie supports Republican nominee Sen.
John McCain, who has a strong military background. Ross said the organization does not back a candidate, but said there was an “emphasis” on swing states.
“Whoever is president, we feel that this will be their greatest task,” Ross said. “We want to make sure America is informed.”
“Obsession” will be distributed to 28 million people this month and was inserted in national newspapers such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Ross said.
“America is in a lot worse shape than the media would lead us to believe,” Ross said. The film “doesn’t talk about one specific incident of terrorism. It is an educational tool. When you watch this movie, you will understand how (radical Muslims) think.”
After the film was inserted in the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina, Ahmed Rehav, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Observer it was “a shoddy and pathetic attempt to scare people into voting a certain way.”
The film, which was made in 2006, opens showing a man, apparently Muslim, holding a gun. What follows are scenes from Sept. 11 and other terrorist attacks around the world.
In Flint, Jondy accused the Clarion Fund of trying to influence the presidential election by inciting fear in voters. He said it was irresponsible of newspapers to insert the film.
“For the general public that are not educated, (they will) think Muslims are bad people, which is not the truth,” he said. “We are Americans. This is our county and we care about it.”
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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