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Chicago Tribune Film Review Equates Muslim Leaders with Skinheads & Inmates
October 10, 2005




SENT: OCTOBER 10, 2005

TO: Tim Bannon, Tempo Editor, Chicago Tribune

CC: Desiree Chen, Tempo Source Editor
Lilah Lohr, Features Deputy Tempo Editor
Marcia Borucki, Assistant Tempo Editor
Michael Wilmington, Movie Critic
Guy Izhak Austrian, Jewish-Muslim Community-Building Initiative
Jane Ramsey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations
Yaser Tabbara, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations - Chicago

RE: Protocols of Zion Review, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 10, Tempo Section, Pg 5

Dear Mr. Bannon,

I was shocked and appalled to read that a review of a movie, “The Protocols of Zion”, in the Tempo Section of today’s Tribune equates Muslim community leaders with Skinheads and inmates. Moreover, it asserts matter of factly that I, as a Muslim community leader, am by default a “Jew-Hater”; it makes that horrendous statement in bare words without qualification or disclaimer.

The exact phrase reads: “Levin talks to his checklist of Jew-haters: Muslim community leaders, skinheads and African-American men in jail.”

I think the language used in the review piece is highly offensive - at the very least shockingly irresponsible and utterly tasteless. Perhaps that’s how the filmmaker describes his movie, but if so, where’s the Tribune’s editorial discretion. I see that Mr. Wilmington has rated the movie with a star and a half and perhaps sweeping generalization in the movie is one of the reasons, but the reality of the matter is that most Tempo readers will not get to see the movie and will only walk away with the problematic statement above, one that should never have been rehashed on the pages of a respectable paper.

Every morning, I wake up with bridge building on my mind, I reach out to Christians and Jews alike in order to increase understanding and erase divisiveness. I do so as a “Muslim community leader”. Our website, http://www.cairchicago.org, is replete with such efforts, and many Jewish leaders in this city can attest to that. The above statement was a slap to the face that neither I nor my colleagues deserve.

I respectfully ask you to address this issue as soon as possible.

Kindly awaiting your response,

Ahmed M. Rehab
Director of Communications

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago)
28 East Jackson Boulevard, Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60604
Tel: 312-212-1520
Fax: 312-212-1530
E-mail: communications@cairchicago.org
Web: www.cairchicago.org

----------------------------------------
SENT: OCTOBER 11, 2005

From: Powers, Scott L. (CTC) [mailto:SlPowers@tribune.com] Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 3:59 PM To: communications@cairchicago.org Cc: Wycliff, N. Don Subject: Tribune Dear. Mr. Rehab,

I'm sorry if you were offended by Tribune staff reporter Allison Benedikt's capsule review of "Protocols of Zion" in the Tempo section. Allison was reporting the checklist of filmmaker Mark Levin, not her personal viewpoint or that of the Tribune, in describing the plot of the movie. Also, since she's given the movie a rating of a star and a half, she's not recommending it to readers.

When the full review of the movie runs in a few weeks, we will be sure to take into account your concerns about describing the movie's plot.

Best,
Scott L. Powers
Entertainment Editor
Chicago Tribune

----------------------------------------
SENT: OCTOBER 13, 2005

To: 'Powers, Scott L. (CTC)' Cc: 'Wycliff, N. Don'; 'dchen@tribune.com'; 'llohr@tribune.com'; 'mborucki@tribune.com'; 'mwilmington@tribune.com'; 'jane@jcua.org'; 'guy@jcua.org'; 'director@cairchicago.org'; 'Ibrahim Hooper'; 'president@cairchicago.org'; 'abenedikt@tribune.com' Subject: Protocols of Zion Movie Review

Dear Mr.Powers,

Thank you for addressing this issue. Your explanation clarifies several of my concerns. I appreciate Ms. Alison not recommending to Tribune readers a movie that draws dangerously simplistic analysis and sweeping generalizations.

I realize that the offensive and racist insinuations in the review are attributable to Mr. Levin, the Film’s Director, and not to the Chicago Tribune. I note the wording, 'his checklist'. However, the fact that they were reprinted matter-of-factly without dissent or rebuke remains troubling.

On the positive side, your reassurance that our concerns will be taken into account when running the full review is satisfactory to us. I will make sure that our community members, friends, and supporters are aware of this proactive handling of the issue.

Looking forward to reading the full review.

I thank you once again.
Respectfully,

Ahmed M. Rehab
Director of Communications

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago)
28 East Jackson Boulevard, Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60604
Tel: 312-212-1520
Fax: 312-212-1530
E-mail: communications@cairchicago.org
Web: www.cairchicago.org
copyright © 2005, cairchicago.org







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