A couple of weeks ago, an insert containing a DVD was in my Sunday newspaper : 'Obsession', with the O represented by a Crescent and Star, well recognizable as the symbol of Islam, and the N ending in the business end of a machine gun. The linkage implied was all too clear, despite miniscule disclaimers to the contrary about the majority of Muslims being peaceful- that " Islam = Terrorism".
The DVD purports to give an 'insider's view' of the 'War against the West', but I didn't feel too keen to give that piece of propaganda any viewing, until a week ago, a second DVD arrived, this time in the mail. My, those are some determined people trying to get out their message. So I kept it aside, intending to view it when I could make the time, to see why it was generating generous quantities of protest letters to the editor.
This morning, however, reading about a 'Hazmat' incident at a mosque in Dayton, it became all too clear what the target audience and the intended effect was.
The Muslim community gathered Sunday, Sept. 28, 48 hours after an unknown irritant disrupted worship at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.
"We were in the midst of the Fifth Prayer when people started coughing," said Ismail Gula, the society's secretary.
Gula said the building was evacuated and the service to break the daily fast of Ramadan continued at a nearby facility.
He said he had no idea what might have caused the incident. "It might be anything," he said.
Gula said he had received many calls of support from Christians and Jews over the weekend.
Also on Sunday, members of several Dayton religious groups were scheduled to view and discuss a DVD about Islamic radicalism mailed to some area homes and circulated with newspapers here and around the country.
"Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," was a paid advertising insert in the Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun, Hamilton JournalNews and Middletown Journal, all owned by Cox Ohio Publishing, on Monday, Sept. 22. It appeared in more than 70 other newspapers nationwide.
The Rev. Gary Percesepe, executive director of Greater Dayton Christian Connections, characterized the DVD as "fanning the flames of fear and prejudice against Muslims, with the potential to inspire hate crimes."
What was the provenance of this DVD, which is being distributed by the millions through newspaper inserts and direct mail? Why are they playing the fear card as in " The threat of Radical Islam is the most important issue facing us today...It's our responsibility to ensure we can all make an informed vote in November"
This NPR link sheds some more light on who is behind this:
Obsession was produced by the Clarion Fund, a 501(c)(3) charity, which cannot get involved in campaign politics.
But its spokesman has said the newspaper distribution had one purpose: to make terrorism a presidential campaign issue where it counts — in the battleground states. He said Clarion did this with a half-million dollar grant from a secret donor.
And others have been promoting Obsession in other ways. Joe Wierzbicki, a political consultant, offered free copies of the DVD to listeners on a talk show in Detroit last month. He was promoting a free screening of Obsession on Sept. 11 in Dearborn, a city with a large Arab population.
The DVD (at least the trailer and the couple of scenes that I deigned to watch) was rife with clips of Arabic and Iranian propaganda of kids yelling 'Death to America' , imagery of the aftermath of bombings in Israel, the ubiquitous footage of 9/11, a self described former PLO terrorist now reformed and equating Palestinian propaganda with the methods used by Nazis to revile Jews. The interesting twist is that the same techniques were being used to revile Muslims through a good part of the film (based on the chapter headings which were all vilifying 'Radical Islam').
Where will it all end, this incitement to hate and violence? Will this Obsession convert Muslims into the new Jews, at least in America?