Howard Gordon says ‘goal of co-existence and tolerance is not being served by films like Obsession’
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/5/08) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group announced today that Howard Gordon, the executive producer of Fox’s drama “24,” has withdrawn his endorsement of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession” currently being distributed to some 28 million households in presidential election swing states by a shadowy non-profit organization called the Clarion Fund.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement by Gordon in which he said:
“After being contacted by a number of people whose opinions I respect and after reviewing Obsession with their criticisms and concerns in mind, I have asked the film makers to remove my endorsement from the Obsession website and from any future promotional materials. While I remain committed to the film’s essential message – that the hate-mongering promoted by radical Islamism presents a real threat to western values of tolerance and pluralism – I also appreciate that the goal of co-existence and tolerance is not being served by films like Obsession.”
CAIR welcomed Gordon’s statement and noted that others are withdrawing their support for the film that many commentators have called anti-Muslim “propaganda.”
“We commend Mr. Gordon for recognizing the harm caused to our society by intentionally inflammatory and divisive films such as ‘Obsession,’” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “As public outrage grows over this hate-filled production, people of conscience are spontaneously withdrawing their support.”
He said newspapers that distributed copies of the “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” DVD have received an outpouring of negative feedback from readers of all faiths. A number of newspapers refused to carry the DVD as an insert and there have been reports of anti-Muslim bias related to the film’s distribution.
In Ohio, a public-school bus driver who takes children to an Islamic school reported that other bus drivers were talking about the DVD and asked him how he could transport “those people.”
SEE: Newspapers Get Complaints for DVD Ad On Muslims (AP)http://www.charlotteobserver.com/nation/story/232382.html
SEE ALSO: DVD’s Makers Used Newspapers to Spread Hatred (Columbus Dispatch)http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/editorials/stories/2008/10/04/Arman_SAT_MUST_ART_10-04-08_A11_4NBGCRA.html
Awad said that even a pro-Israel think tank, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), pulled out of “The Obsession Project.”
SEE: Think Tank Quits ‘Obsession Project’ (JTA)http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/110615.html
Dr. Khaleel Mohammed, a Muslim interviewee for “Obsession,” now calls the production a “vile piece of propaganda.” In a statement sent to the www.obsessionwithhate.com
website, Dr. Mohammed said: “Sadly, it would seem that I have allowed myself to be used.”
SEE: Statement of Dr. Khaleel Mohammedhttp://www.obsessionwithhate.com/thepundits.php#khaleel
The “Obsession with Hate” site was launched recently by the Hate Hurts America Multifaith Community Coalition (HHA), a group of religious and civic organizations seeking to challenge hate speech in our society.
HHA’s site offers a point-by-point rebuttal to propagandistic claims made in the film, as well as a list of newspapers that delivered the film’s DVD as an insert, a sampling of bigoted statements made by anti-Muslim figures interviewed for “Obsession,” and examples of the overwhelmingly negative media coverage of the Clarion Fund’s controversial campaign to influence voters.
A recent article in the St. Petersburg Times revealed ties between the film’s distributors and the Israel-based group Aish HaTorah. The newspaper’s investigative report stated: “Clarion’s address, according to Manhattan directory assistance, is the same address as Aish HaTorah International, a fundraising arm of Aish HaTorah. The Clarion Fund and Aish HaTorah International are also connected to a group called HonestReporting, which produced Obsession. HonestReporting’s 2006 tax return uses the same address.”
SEE: Senders of Islam Movie ‘Obsession’ Tied to Jewish Charity (St. Petersburg Times)http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/article827910.ece
Based on these revelations and on the Clarion fund’s apparent attempt to use its non-profit status to impact the presidential election in favor of a particular candidate, CAIR filed complaints with both the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
SEE: The Secret Cell Helping McCain (Palm Beach Post)http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/content/opinion/epaper/2008/09/21/a16a_schultz_col_0921.html
SEE ALSO: Anti-Islam Film Targets ‘Swing State’ Voters (IPS)http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43940
CAIR asked the IRS, if evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered, to consider stripping the Clarion Fund of its tax-exempt status, tax funds it spent on prohibited activities and impose an injunction on further political expenditures.
SEE: CAIR Asks IRS to Probe Group Behind Swing State Anti-Muslim DVDshttp://www.cair.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?mid1=777&&ArticleID=25530&&name=n&&currPage=1
SEE ALSO: CAIR Asks FEC to Probe Anti-Muslim DVDs Sent to Swing States http://www.cair.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?ArticleID=25495&&name=n&&currPage=1&&Active=1
Those interviewed in “Obsession” constitute a veritable who’s who of Muslim-bashers. Speakers include Walid Shoebat, who once told a Missouri newspaper that he sees “many parallels between the Antichrist and Islam” and “Islam is not the religion of God — Islam is the devil.” (Springfield News-Leader, 9/24/07)
Others interviewed in the film include Nonie Darwish, a self-styled “former Moslem” who wrote that “Islam is cruel, anti-women, anti-religious freedom and anti-personal freedom in general,” and Daniel Pipes, who warned a Jewish convention of the “true dangers” posed by “the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims.” (American Jewish Congress, 10/21/2001)
Another “Obsession” interviewee, Brigitte Gabriel, told the Australian Jewish News: “Every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim.” She also claimed that “Islamo-fascism is a politically-correct word…it’s the vehicle for Islam…Islam is the problem.”
SEE: The World According to Brigitte Gabriel (Australian Jewish News)http://www.ajn.com.au/news/news.asp?pgID=3403
When asked whether Americans should “resist Muslims who want to seek political office in this nation,” Gabriel said:
“Absolutely. If a Muslim who has — who is — a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”
SEE: ‘Obsession’ Stars Have Lectured at U.S. Military Collegeshttp://www.israelenews.com/view.asp?ID=3168
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.