Last week we posted a media alert on an anti-Islamic DVD that was distributed through the Grand Rapids Press. Upon further investigation, we were able to find out a bit more information on the group that paid for the production and distribution of the fear-based DVD, the Clarion Fund.
The Clarion Fund is a New York based non-profit organization that was founded in 2006. There is no information on their website about who they are, but they describe themselves as an educational organization with a focus on “the most urgent threat of radical Islam.” There is no information on their website about who founded the group, their board of directors, or their funding sources. What is clear about the Clarion Fund is that they are committed to promoting fear about the Islamic religion.
The DVD that they funded, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, was not only distributed by the Grand Rapids Press, but to 28 million newspaper subscribers nationwide. The film has also been shown on CNN and FOX News. The producer of the film is an Israeli-Canadian named Raphael Shore. Shore has a history of speaking out on what he believes is an anti-Israel news media in the US. He has collaborated with the pro-Israeli media watchdog group called Honest Reporting. The communications director of the Clarion Fund is Gregory Ross. Ross, in a recent interview, stated, “the film was financed by a concerned citizen who has a long standing relationship with our organization. The cost was under $500k and it took over a year to complete.” Ross also said that, “the U.S. Department of the Navy uses the film and that it has also been shown on Capitol Hill on many occasions in order to education politicians.”
In a few weeks, the Clarion Fund plans on releasing a second DVD entitled The Third Jihad. This film claims there is a FBI-discovered secret document that “describes the grand jihad goal of destroying Western civilization from within by infiltrating and dominating North America.”
In response to the first DVD, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging the Federal Election Commission to investigate the timing on the DVDs, which they claim is being used to influence the election in swing states across the country.
It is hard to tell from the educational section of the Clarion Fund’s website whether or not they have a partisan bias. They do have a section documenting the candidate’ positions on homeland security, but there is no evidence to suggest that they are partisan.
Islamic and other groups in Grand Rapids have responded to the Grand Rapids Press’ distribution of this fear-based DVD and there are other reports of Islamic groups being outraged by the DVD. In last Sunday’s Grand Rapids Press, editor Mike Lloyd defended his decision to take the money and distribute the DVD since he felt that “Unrestrained debate over a highly controversial political ad demonstrates…the strength in this country that comes from diversity.” We wonder whether or not the Press, in the spirit of unrestrained debate, would take money to distribute a DVD that denied the Nazi Holocaust?