Sunday, March 11, 2007

Editor of "Obsession" Responds to Accusations of Islamaphobia

On February 26, 2007, The New York Times published an article entitled "Film's View of Islam Stirs Anger on Campuses", concerning recent campus protests against showings of the film "Obsession" (which VOMC sells online). The film has been accused by its critics of being Islamophobic or creating an anti-Islamic backlash.

This afternoon, Wayne Kopping, the Director and Editor of the film issued a response to these accusations:

Dear Editor,

I am the Director of the film "Obsession" and I am writing in response to the February 26, 2007 article entitled "Film's View of Islam Stirs Anger on Campuses".

First of all, the headline of the piece is terribly misleading - "Obsession" is not a film about Islam as a whole, but rather it discusses the hijacking of Islam by Radical Muslims who seek to foster terrorism against the West.

Second, it is erroneous to claim that "Obsession" will incite Islamophobia or create an anti-Islamic backlash. In "Obsession", we make a clear distinction between 'radical' and 'moderate' Muslims, and we repeatedly declare that the majority of Muslims are not radicals. To date, the film has already been seen by millions of people around the world, and there has not been even one reported incident of violent backlash as a result of 'Obsession'. On the contrary, the film has received acclaim and commendation from leaders, critics and military experts alike, who have found the film to be fair and accurate in its presentation [see for quotes]. The film only seems to 'stir anger' from those fringe quarters who share the agenda of defending groups with radical tendencies.

To that end, it is with regret that our film finds itself the victim of slanderous attacks from the Muslim Student's Association (MSA), et al, who have succeeded in shutting down at least two screenings of the film on college campuses. Additionally, there have been other reports of intimidation by the MSA, in their quest to stop further screenings of the film.

We denounce the actions of the MSA in the strongest terms. Rather than furthering vital conversation around the issue of Radical Islamic terrorism and helping to bridge the gap between communities, the MSA is stifling valuable dialogue.

Our aim is, and has always been, to work together with those moderate Muslims who recognize the threat of Radical Islam -- which is why we were so surprised by the hostility of the MSA, (who purport to be a moderate Muslim group). Moderate Muslims around the world are often the first victims of the Radical Islamist ideology. It is for this reason that we had hoped that the MSA would stand as partners with "Obsession" and declare themselves against the Radicals and the terrorists.

And finally, we take exception to the fact that Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller is quoted in the article as saying that the film was propaganda and "a way to transfer the Middle East conflict to the campus, to promote hostility." The article fails to note that Rabbi Seidler-Felder has the reputation of being an outspoken 'leftist' who, earlier this year, admitted to assaulting a pro-Isreali journalist at a rally in 2003 (see ). The failure of mentioning Rabbi Seidler-Felder's background provides a false impression since it implies that the Rabbi speaks for the Jewish community at large, which he certainly does not.

It is our hope that people will continue to view the film, so that we can nurture an open dialogue and continue on the path of education and understanding.

Wayne Kopping
Director, Editor, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against The West"

The Voice of the Martyrs believes that this film is an extremely important work, which is why we have made it available here in Canada. We will continue to do so, even though we recognize its controversial nature. To this point, we have not received any criticism from anyone who has purchased it, although many have admitted that it was deeply disturbing. It is that. The rise of militant Islamist ideology (we prefer this term to "radical" Islam) should disturb all of us and it does no one any good to pretend that it is not a significant development.

I chuckled today when I read an article in the Toronto Star about a former U.S. Navy sailor facing espionage charges allegedly disclosed secrets about a Canadian frigate that was part of a large force headed to the Middle East in 2001. The Star declined to report that Hassan Abujihaad (31) who is charged with transmitting classified information to terrorists in the Middle East is a convert to Islam and he changed his name from Paul Hall after his conversion. This little insignificant detail was picked up by the National Post the day earlier. The Star's omission reflects a deliberate editorial policy that has been evident since 9/11 of trying separate Islam from terrorism.

There just seems to be those in the mainstream media who seem to believe that if we don't say it enough, it just doesn't exist. So, before you let the media (or anyone else) tell you whether "Obsession" is a terrible video, watch it yourself.

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