You may have noticed an advertising supplement in Sunday’s Grand Rapids Press, a DVD called “Obsession, Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” This was produced by individuals with an anti-Islamic, anti-Arab agenda and I consider it to be harmful hate speech. They are sending this out at no cost to 28 million households, often thru a supplement to local newspapers. If you don’t live in Grand Rapids, check to see if your newspaper is distributing this DVD.
The film is ideologically slanted toward painting Muslims as evil and bent on the destruction of the United States and Israel. It combines inciting commentary with images of Nazis, 9/11 and suicide bombing indoctrination. The DVD purports to be informative but is instead inflammatory and ugly in its intent. There are indeed extremist elements within Islam as there are within Judaism and Christianity and other religions. But to use the extremists to describe a religion is inexcusable. It would be entirely inappropriate to look at Judaism thru the lens of Kach or Christianity thru the lens of the White Christian Patriots. Why then should we look at Islam through the lens of the extremist minority?
The film has a disclaimer in the beginning that says most Muslims are peaceful. But the next 60 minutes consist of violent bloody images, the collapse of the twin towers, and the atrocities of Nazi Germany. The film is clearly meant to play on our emotions; it is no mistake that this DVD was sent out the Sunday after September 11 and just before a presidential election. There is no political context in the film and no explanation of Islam thus making it difficult for the viewer to intellectually understand the message. The producers cleverly use a couple of Arab voices to lend credence to their concerns but the vast majority of the film paints Islam as a fanatical religion that breeds a culture of hatred. The danger is that the proliferation of emotion-laden misrepresentations will become the prevailing viewpoint and prevent us from gaining a better world understanding.
If you have time to view it, please do and respond to the Press, either by writing to the Public Pulse (firstname.lastname@example.org) – you must include your name, address and phone number – or by calling Mike Lloyd (616) 222-5455 directly to express your concerns about the Press’ decision to distribute this racist DVD.