Sunday, September 14, 2008

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West

Do you have your copy of Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West?

A free DVD arrived in our mailbox this week, shrink-wrapped with our copy of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Why would we be getting a copy of this DVD, now two years old, in the midst of a presidential election campaign, inserted anonymously in the Chronicle? Why send this to academics, who are the only subscribers to the Chronicle? Who benefits by sending out these free copies?

The film has an official web site, which includes the claim that "Today, we find ourselves confronted by a new enemy, also engaged in a violent struggle to transform our world. As we sleep in the comfort of our homes, a new evil rises against us. A new menace is threatening, with all the means at its disposal, to bow Western Civilization under the yoke of its values. That enemy is Radical Islam." The site also promotes political action and campus activism in a rhetoric that sounds very much like the line taken by the neo-con hawks who led us into Iraq.

Serious reviews of the film are hard to find -- this is a propaganda film that exists mostly below the radar of serious journalists and critics. There are reviews and stories on Wikipedia , Huffington Post, and in a publication called The American Muslim. Eric Ose in the Huffington Post reports that 28 million copies are being sent to newspaper subscribers in swing states. "Funding is coming from a New York-based group called the Clarion Fund, a shadowy outfit whose financial backers are unclear."

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