Islam Online: "Obsession" Irks US Muslims

US Muslims are infuriated by a controversial anti-Islam documentary being widely circulated across the country, including with many leading newspapers, to scare Americans from Islam and Muslims. "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."

"Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against The West," a documentary originally produced in 2006, is now re-released and widely distributed via an unprecedented campaign.

A truncated 60-minute DVD of the film is inserted into some 70 leading newspapers around the country.

Millions of copies are also being sent to Americans through direct mail.

The documentary, which presents what it describes as radical Islam's campaign against Christians, America and the West, has been shown on college campuses across the country.

It features interviews with commentators famed for their notorious anti-Islam views, including Martin Gilbert, Daniel Pipes and Steve Emerson.

The documentary shows footage of terror attacks, clips from Arab TV and historical films.

It is produced by the Clarion Fund, a shadowy NGO founded in 2006 by Canadian filmmaker Raphael Shore, also co-writer of the film, who now lives in Israel.

Clarion Fund's mission statement as posted on its website says its "primary focus" is to help Americans understand "the most urgent threat of radical Islam."

Political Ploy

The film producers admit that their controversial documentary is meant to "scare" the Americans.

Gregory Ross, director of communications for the Clarion Fund, says the timing of re-releasing the movie is meant to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary.

But Muslims link the timing to the upcoming White House elections in November especially that "Obsession" has been the talk of several conservative radio shows.

Fox News ran a one-hour prime time special on the film nine times in two weeks due to the high ratings it received.

The DVD is being distributed only in swing states, where voters are heavily split between the two presidential nominees and where the result of the November polls will likely be decided.

"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."

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