[As reported in an earlier post, the Islamophobic pseudo-documentary ‘Obsession’ has recently been sent out in key states on behalf of the Palin/McCain/Lieberman campaign. Now there is a website devoted to debunking the film’s prejudicial claims and slanted propaganda. This is called Obsession with Hate, a project of the “Hate Hurts America” campaign. See the website for details, but here is an excerpt…]

What is ‘Obsession’?

Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West is a 2005 anti-Muslim propaganda film put together by controversial anti-Muslim figures to further the perceived divide between Western and Muslim audiences. 28 million copies of the DVD were recently distributed by a mysteriously-funded entity by the name of the Clarion Fund with the help of 70 US newspapers in a curious and unprecedented campaign. This large distribution, particularly given it was targeted to swing states in the current elections cycle, piqued the interest of many, especially civil rights watchdogs.

Why is ‘Obsession’ a hate film, can we deny that radical violent Muslims exist?

Of course, there is no denying that there are those who have misused Islam to promote an anti-Western militant ideology that is responsible for the tragic 9/11 attacks and other deplorable terrorist acts around the globe. Few would disagree that Al Qaeda and its imitators are ruthless enemies that the United States must deal with forcefully.

But “Obsession” is not an honest critique of violent radicalism. Instead, it is a propaganda piece that seeks to cast a wide net of suspicion against Muslims by blurring the line between violent radicalism and mainstream Islam. As such, it does not call on credible experts and reputable scholars but resorts to shady characters like “former-terrorist” Walid Shoebat, who has made such outlandish statements as: “Islam is not the religion of God Islam is the devil.”

In a recent commentary responding to the distribution of “Obsession,” Jeff VanDenBerg, director of Middle East Studies at Drury University, called the film “a blatant piece of anti-Muslim propaganda.” He also wrote: “The film ‘Obsession’ plays to the crudest stereotypes and promotes the simplest solutions. In the end, this kind of thinking will do far more to harm American security than it will to help it.” (News-Leader, 9/17/08)