First Published: 2008-09-17

Hate DVDs spread anti-Islam message in Florida

Millions of propaganda DVDs distributed with Florida newspapers promote Islamophobia ahead of US elections.


Middle East Online

MIAMI - The mass mailing of a controversial DVD "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" has sparked anger among many in South Florida.

The hour-long video began turning up in mailboxes last week as a direct mailing, and also as an advertising insert in dozens of newspapers, including The Miami Herald and the South-Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The DVD is promoted by Clarion Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to "educating the public about national security threats."

South Florida Muslims say it maligns their faith and fuels hysteria ahead of the fast-approaching US presidential vote.

"I think it's very irresponsible of the newspapers themselves to disseminate such propaganda," said Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of The Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It's fueling hysteria."

Ali said the video began circulating more than a year ago, and he questioned the timing of the mass distribution just weeks before the November 4 presidential election.

Ali feared that the DVD would "incite more hate and bigotry against our community."

The Huffington Post reported that the Clarion Fund plans to reach 28 million households with the video in all, targeting viewers in potentially critical battleground states such as Florida, Ohio and Colorado.

The Clarion Fund did not respond to phone calls Tuesday seeking comment.

Ali also said he worried viewers might attribute legitimacy to the film because it was packaged with their city newspaper. He said his phone had been ringing off the hook with complaints, often from newspaper readers who planned to cancel their subscriptions.

An article at the DAVD group's site was said to have all but endorsed John McCain this past week before being pulled down.

One newspaper which refused to distribute the DVD, said the film played on people's fears and served no educational purpose.

The DVD did not clearly differentiate between radical Islam and mainstream Islam, and newspapers did not inform their readers of the controversial nature of the film.

"It seemed (designed) to get people up in arms," John Brough, 70, a retired businessman in New Port Richey was quoted as saying, fearing the film might encourage Americans to react harshly to all Muslims.

The DVD claims to show the "parallels between the Nazi movement of World War II, the radicals of today, and the Western world's response to both threats."

Ironically, critics noted the DVD actually incites sentiments against Muslims similar to the sentiments the Nazis had incited against the Jews.

The films re-distribution comes at a time of rising Islamophobia.

It comes following the release of a controversial game called "Muslim Massacre," which trumpets itself as a "game of modern religious genocide."

The game, which can be downloaded for free on the Internet, urges players to "wipe out the Muslim race with an arsenal of the world's most destructive weapons.

Players in the game -- the aim of which is to "ensure that no Muslim man or woman is left alive" -- control an "American Hero" wielding a machine gun and a rocket launcher parachuted into the Middle East.


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