Updated-3 | In the Wake of Obsession Hate DVD: Muslim Children Gassed in Dayton Ohio Mosque

*Please see this official MM statement on this incident* 

Update 10/20/08

Mystery still shrouds as to what actually happened at the Dayton Mosque, when an unknown chemical irritant was sprayed inside a mosque. Initially, the police said that a can of pepper spray was found NEAR the mosque. Later, they “learned” it was inside the mosque. While police interviewed a 10-year old boy, there has been no conclusion to the case, esp. one that is circulating around that a Muslim boy was responsible. I am still wondering how police could have been not spot-on on such an important piece of information, i.e. the location of the spray can. In conclusion, yes indeed this may well have been a prank, an unfortunate one to say the least, but even the police haven’t concluded that outsiders were not involved. So, we await final judgement. If outsiders were not involved, then this is also to be considered good news, to be thankful that the situation is not as bad as we thought it was.

At the same time, the story of “Obsession DVD” and its fear and hate-mongering doesn’t change an iota. Please read below for that story, which forms the bulk and essence of this post.

Update 10/13/08

Chris Rodda, original author of the dailykos, responds to the  Dayton daily news, and also investigates the mysterious redirected links to scrubbed stories. I have also linked to the cache story below. See here.

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Since this story was originally posted, the Dayton newspaper ran a couple of more stories, one stating that the spray attack was not being treated as a hate-crime, and the other decrying that bloggers were sensationalizing this story (boo hoo). As I stated in this post, I do not know if there is any connection between the DVDs and the spray attack. I believe that common sense dictates that hatred will eventually spew out in the form of some hate-crime sooner or later. And what the DVD attempts to do is to disseminate hatred.

Regardless, the eye-witness email account continues to reflect some of the terror the spray inflicted, even if it turned out not to cause enduring physical harm. Emotional trauma is far more difficult to erase and rectify than any physical hurt. Finally, whether the incident was really as bad as I and many others believe it was, whether the incident was related to the DVD or not, is really inconsequential in the big picture. The facts on the DVD about the producers, distributors, financiers, and the organizers of islamophobia, which form the bulk of this post, do not hinge on the Dayton incident.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the hate-mongers continue to remain undeterred, and are in the process of releasing another video on the “third jihad”. The same foundation, the same characters, but with the addition of their new star– a “Muslim”-traitor, a clown, sell-out, our own “Uncle Tom”, the male Irshad Manji– Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. Apparently, Jasser, who can’t get any attention or love, even from a small minority of Muslims, is getting a big bone from the Israel-obsessed neocons/right-wing zionists.

Thus, Omid Safi, whose full document on Obsession can be found here, is suggesting that we collect information about this clown, Jasser, his views, his background, etc. So, I ask our readers to start collecting information on him. If anyone wants to volunteer to do an “expose” on him, that will be great. Here’s a starting point: Radical Islam Wants You…and America. Please let us know or share information in comments.

——————————————

She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers.Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there. The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn’t stop sobbing.

Let’s step back a bit…Imagine this headline: “Chemicals sprayed into Synagogue, Children Hurt”.

Imagine how this headline would be blurting out of every mass media outlet, out of every politician’s mouth… Obama and McCain would be personally heading to the Synagogue, proclaiming the strongest messages against such terrorism, calling for the attackers to be brought to full justice, and repudiating whatever may have been responsible for leading to this hate-crime.

Nothing less would be expected of the America that I thought I knew.

Yet, replace Synagogue with a Mosque, and there is deafening silence in the mainstream media. Were it not for this highly-recommended diary on Dailykos, I wonder if even the liberal blogs would have picked it up. How apathetic has our national media become to crimes against Muslims in America? Don’t Muslims deserve that these stories be told? Is it only when Muslims commit terrorism that the stories are worthy of front-page news, yet when we are subjected to terrorism, it doesn’t merit any media attention? [YOU, as a fair-minded individual can do something about it. And I mention some ways in the conclusion to make a difference, so be sure to read all the way to the end. You can be sure of one thing, if we don’t care enough to do something, we can’t blame the media for being indifferent.]

This didn’t happen in some far away place — but right here in Dayton, and to my friends. Many of the Iraqi refugees were praying together at the Mosque Friday evening. People that I know and love.

I am hurt and angry. I tell her this is NOT America. She tells me this is not Heaven or Hell — there are good and bad people everywhere.

The Dayton Daily News reported the news in a completely matter of fact manner. Interestingly, this is a cached link, the original link now points to a DIFFERENT story that is a headline on this not being a hate-crime. Why the original link was not left in place, as is “normal”… I’ll let you figure that out. Nothing in the news tells us about the horrors that transpired in the mosque. The quoted portions above and below (in red-italics) were copied from the dailykos story, based on an eye-witness’s account.

She tells me that her daughters slept with her last night, the little one in her arms and sobbing throughout the night. She tells me she is afraid, and will never return to the mosque, and I wonder what kind of country is this where people have to fear attending their place of worship?

The children come into the room, and tell me they want to leave America and return to Syria, where they had fled to from Iraq. They say they like me, … , and other American friends — but they are too afraid and want to leave. Should a 6 and 7 year old even have to contemplate the safety of their living situation?

Did the anti-Muslim video circulating in the area have something to do with this incident, or is that just a bizarre coincidence? Who attacks women and children?

So, did the video cause the incident? That is the million-dollar question, and until the culprits are captured and interrogated, we may never know. If you haven’t already heard of this anti-Muslim DVD, then a one-sentence description should suffice (until more on it later in the story): 77 minutes of pure propaganda, consisting of footage that interlaces videos of violent Muslims with those of Nazis, suggesting that Muslims are out to destroy Western civilization. Millions of Americans all over the country are ‘mysteriously’ receiving this DVD, absolutely free, in their mail.

I, for one, am not ready to buy it off as a coincidence. As I discussed in my post, Islamophobia already exists, the question is how widespread does Islamophobia become, and when the inevitable hate-crimes start coming in droves. Let me share one paragraph from that post:

[O]ne can think of racism or prejudice as a pyramid, with the bottom base being a myriad and widespread negative opinions and beliefs, which I have already described in the preceding paragraphs. The next, less-widespread, step up on this pyramid would be hate-talk. A step further up will be actions motivated by hate, like throwing a pig’s head into a mosque. Further steps up (less frequent but of higher intensity) would include direct attacks on Muslims and eventually to Muslim deaths and even large-scale terrorism (a plan by a Florida doctor to bomb Muslim educational centers was derailed in Florida in 2002 before it could be enacted). The question is not whether such hate-crimes will happen (because they already are); rather the question is when and how many.

What the propagators of this video are attempting to do is to continue building the base of the hate-pyramid. They are trying to influence and coax the average American into seeing Islam as a threat, and Muslims as enemies. By mixing images of Nazis and Muslims, they are engaged in willful and dishonest fear-mongering, designed to further their goal of sidelining Muslims in all spheres of American influence.

Who is responsible for spreading Islamophobia?

The real obsession is in fact for Israel. What we are constantly finding is that many of the leading Islamophobia creation campaigns have sponsors that have the following in common: radical Jewish, obsessed with Israel (not simply pro-Israel but who support Israel’s interests over America’s), staunchly Zionist, and usually ultra right-wing conservative. In general, they fall under the umbrella of neoconservatives. While some from the Christian Evangelical community have spewed vitriol against Muslims and against the Prophet Mohammed, in general, they have engaged in more talk than substance. No doubt, some Evangelicals are “part of the plan”, but they usually play supporting, not strategy-development, roles.

Unlike the likes of the late Fallwell, Pat Robertson, etc. this neoconservative bunch of thinkers and intellectuals has laid out a more sinister, well-orchestrated plan to change the hearts and minds of average Americans. While Israel’s outgoing prime-minister bemoans the rise of extremism among Jewish settlers, and Jeffrey Goldberg describes the dialogues within Israel about the existential concerns of Israel and how the hawkish influence is actually strengthening this fear, it seems that the debate in America about support of Israeli hawkish policies is one that is barely off the ground.

The end-goal of these Neocons & friends is set by the following logic:

fear_poster_med.jpgThe American Israeli political landscape is dominated by hawkish influence, so much so that proper Israel has much more of an open and free discussion of the future of Israel than the discussion in America. This cannot be allowed to change.

American Muslims are a threat to America’s heavy-handed favoritism of Israel. If American Muslims start gaining political influence, then they will demand fairness in the Middle East process, or at least the opening up of an intelligent and balanced discourse.

The way to stifle this debate is to marginalize Muslims to the point that their presence in any political landscape will become caustic (remember Obama’s “Muslim smear”?).

How do you marginalize Muslims? Create widespread propaganda of fear; establish images of everyday Muslims as the next potential terrorists in the minds of the average Americans. Repeat. As long as there is no Muslim voice, there would be no challenge to the Israeli domination of viewpoints (and especially its right-wing flavor) in American culture and media.

Lest I be accused of anti-Semitism, which happens anytime you mention the word Jewish in an unfavorable light (yet it is okay to scream islamofascism, Islamic radicalism, radical Muslims, radical Islam all the time), let me mention something important: Like followers of all major religions, Jews are not monolithic. The Jews involved in organizing efforts to promote islamophobia effort represent a small minority of right-wing, hawkish, radical elements, whose obsession with Israel overrides everything else. They would not even hesitate to label Jews with opposing opinions as self-haters!

In any case, you will find the common thread of social identities that I just mentioned (with few exceptions) in the following examples; major Islamophobia-organizers and websites against Muslims in America:

  • Daniel Pipes who runs campuswatch, a site that witch-hunts professors who are not pro-Israel enough.
  • Robert Spencer who runs the notorious ““Jihad Watch”
  • David Horowitz who runs “Freedom Center” and also organized the notorious “Islamofascism” week
  • David Yerushalmi who was part of the “Shariah Mapping” project, the “SANE” project, and other islmaphobia-creation efforts. We covered his organization’s activities in this post.

And now comes the distribution of TWENTY-EIGHT MILLION DVDs. In a poignant online piece, “saul relative” writes about what the DVD represents and what its ultimate goals are. Though the short-term goal indeed is political, there is a much more sinister long-term goal that I have already highlighted above.

The DVD is a 60-minute expose of militant Islam called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” and is ideologically slanted toward painting Muslims as evil and bent on the destruction of the United States. It was nationally premiered on Fox News during the 2006 mid-term elections. Labeled highly divisive by many mainstream religious groups, “Obsession” shows Islam as a radically dangerous religion bent on the destruction of Western civilization,

The author also mentions how terrorism has struck America only a few times in history, and while waging foreign wars, the government

has done nearly nothing with regard to domestic defense measures except to marginally increase airport security and restructure the various intelligence agencies”.

[the Clarion Fund tactics] are meant to appeal to fears of the voters. It is meant to appeal to an emotional level. In psychological terms, this might precipitate a fight or flight response. With no direct threat of immediate personal harm, the fight response will most likely prevail

Fear is the strongest motivator of human action. The perception of security from that fear will have a very strong influence on the way an individual votes. The Clarion Fund is employing that motivator in swing states to potentially bring those states into the Republican fold and deliver to John McCain the electoral votes needed to become the next president.

To some, like the Clarion Fund, the truth may be irrelevant. Getting the candidate of their choice elected is all that matters.”

Some of the claims of the DVD:

Just like the individuals mentioned above who leading the charge of Islamophobia, other players in the video share similar background including Carline Glick (Israel On Campus Coalition), and Nonie Darwish & Walid Shoebet (these two are of the evangelical Christian persuasion, but no less obsessed with Israel). What I would like the reader to contemplate the following:

  • Consider the cost of such of production and distribution of such an effort. My own back-of-the-envelope estimate puts this at between $50-150 million! Who is bank-rolling it?
  • Consider the timing and states chosen for the distribution. A few weeks before the presidential elections where one candidate, Obama, despite his pro-Israel stance, is just not as “tried and tested” as McCain. The tiny bit of risk that Obama may be actually fair in Middle East policies is strategically unacceptable for the neocons. The states are of course the swing-states, which makes the political motive even more obvious
  • Consider the channel of distribution. Newspapers. They could have done it through a myriad of other distribution channels, but they chose newspapers. Why? While there is the efficiency argument in that they are using an established distribution network, there is a more Machiavellian reason at play. In one word- credibility! How many people may not have noticed the “advertisement” disclaimer (if there was even one)? The average American still maintains some trust in newspapers, and by agreeing to distribute hate-literature, our newspapers have failed us in the sense of their social responsibility.

Who is behind it?

For this, I will be depending heavily on Omid Safi’s (a Professor of Religious Studies at UNC) research, much of which is excerpted below. The DVD references the “Clarion Fund” as its creator. Clarion was incorporated in 2006. It uses the website, “radicalislam.org”. As most Muslims now recognize, “radical” is just a softener, the intention is to malign all Muslims. In essence, if you practice Islam, you are a radical.

The DVD was produced by a person called Raphael Shore (yes, sharing the same social identities as the other culprits). Raphael Shore is part of a missionary Israeli “Jewish penitent” (baal teshuva) group, called Aish HaTorah (“Fire of the Torah”), whose mission has been to call “assimilated” Jews back to Judaism. Although Aish HaTorah denies involvement,

Ronn Torossian, spokesman for Aish HaTorah, said that his group would in “no way be involved with Clarion Fund or Obsession because Aish HaTorah is a charity and must remain apolitical.”

Ross, the Clarion spokesman, was listed as an Aish HaTorah international fundraiser on a federal election donation form in June 2007. [Source]

More from Omid:

It turns out that Raphael Shore, a Canadian rabbi, is also the director of the International wing of Aish HaTorah. His business card is available as a PDF on line. According to the paperwork filed with the Delaware state authorities, Clarion uses the same address as Aish HaTorah in New York.

Raphael Shore is also the director of Hasbara Fellowships, a group with the transparent website: http://www.israelactivism.com/ Here there is another connection to Aish HaTorah, as Hasbara is part of the Aish HaTorah network. The connections between Obsession and Israeli groups like Aish HaTorah and Jewish advocacy groups on behalf of Israel like Hasbara Fellowship and Honestyreporting.com is beyond dispute. The producers of the documentary just don’t want you to know about it.

The spokesperson for the Clarion Fund, Gregory Ross, did not deny that this article had appeared on their site, he was only upset that they had been caught with it! The Clarion Fund has been established as a 501(3)c non-profit organization. These types of non-profit organizations are not to endorse one political candidate over another, precisely what Clarion seems to have done, and is now busy hiding its track records. NPR reported on this, and the possibility of a forthcoming FEC probe.

Who Distributes the DVD?
According the New York Times, when Shore and Co. could not find any traditional distributor for their propaganda, they formulated a strategy of working with Neo-Conservative organizations like Heritage, College Republicans, and above all, Jewish organizations.

NPR has reported that an organization called Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), is also responsible for distribution of the Obsession DVD. The positions of EMET are the positions of Likud party in Israel, and that of the illegal Settler movement It was EMET that on March 25th, 2008 sponsored a showing of Obsession on Capitol Hill.

EMET was also requested to help the Republican Policy Committee with a Sense of the Congress resolution talking about Israel’s inherent right to defend itself…” In other words, Clarion Fund claims to be non-political, but uses a pro-Israel ally of Republicans to distribute its product.

In short, the distributors of the Obsession DVD are the most ardent and fanatical supporters of Israel, a fact that the Obsession DVD conveniently omits, and the newspapers who spread the 28 million copies of this DVD like a virus never looked into. EMET also has a cozy relationship with the right-wing Jewish billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson, who has a proven track record of using his wealth to push both Israeli and Republican agendas. A recent investigative piece in the New Yorker proved many details of his agenda.

To place Adelson on the political spectrum, it is good to recall that he has described himself as a critic of AIPAC—from the far right! In other words, he feels that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has been too soft on Palestinians. (!) Adelson has been a longtime contributor to Jewish and Republican causes, including the campaigns of George W. Bush. Initially, he had designs of spending $250 million dollars to set up an organization called Freedom Watch to keep Obama out of the White House.

Conclusion
It should not come as a huge surprise as to how much influence the Israeli lobby holds in American politics, especially its hawkish, right-wing section. It is a taboo of course to talk about this influence as the writers of the “Israel Lobby” book learned. What is a bit surprising is how easily foreign entities from Israel have been able to register charitable organizations in America, and using supposedly apolitical entities, to influence elections in the States.

What is particularly disappointing is that more newspapers did not refuse to distribute this video. Would they have distributed it if the video was on radical Judaism or radical Christianity? Would they have distributed it if was about the Israeli settlers’ harassment and stalking of Palestinian locals? If it is all about freedom of speech, then why is the speech that maligns Muslim, incites hatred and potentially hate-crimes, acceptable, yet the speech that highlights other injustices unacceptable?

We don’t know for sure if the video caused the hate-crime at the Dayton mosque. But, we cannot deny the proximity of timing of distribution of the DVD and the crime. Common sense suggests that if you inculcate enough hatred in individuals, it will be a matter of time before this hatred develops into actions of hate. History provides sufficient proof for this claim. What is especially ironic, and I conclude with this, is that while the video tries to portray Muslims as Nazis, it is the video itself that is spreading the same sort of hatred and intolerance about Muslims similar as what the Nazis created towards Jews, which ultimately led the Nazis to execute one of the greatest crimes against humanity. Contemplate that!

What can you do?
If this all bothered you, and it should for moral reasons, regardless of your religious identity, then don’t just sit there and bemoan this miscarriage of media responsibility. Do your part:

  • Write a letter to your local newspaper, wherever you are, but especially if you are in one of the states where the distribution took place (consider these guidelines). You have a better chance of getting published than writing to one of the national newspapers.
  • Write to the national newspapers. But be very succinct and add some “color” or “reasoned emotion”, it may increase your chance of getting published
  • If you have the time, write an op-ed. There is enough information in this post for you to cobble together a short piece (different newspapers have different word limits)
  • Cross-post on your own blog or on facebook or wherever you “communicate electronically”.
  • Email about this post, or excerpts from it to your friends and family.
  • If you are into making videos, make a short video that highlights a bit of the DVD, and a 3 minute talk about how you feel about it. Post it on youtube.
  • If you do any of the above, add a comment below to encourage others. Even copy/paste your letter so others can use it as template for doing their own writing.
  • Please demand that this come up at the VP debate by sending a message to Gwen Ifill as a comment on a previous diary mentioned.

What am I supposed to say to them? My words can’t keep them safe from what is nothing less than terrorism, American style. Isn’t losing loved ones, their homes, jobs, possessions and homeland enough? Is there no place where they can be safe?

She didn’t want me to leave her tonight, but it was after midnight, and I needed to get home and write this to my friends. Tell me — tell me — what am I supposed to say to them?”

See Also:

Related Posts:

93 / View Comments

93 responses to “Updated-3 | In the Wake of Obsession Hate DVD: Muslim Children Gassed in Dayton Ohio Mosque”

  1. Yasir Qadhi says:

    Jazak Allah khayr Amad for this great post. I was waiting for someone to write up about it!

    It is really, really sad that certain members of a faith that has suffered so much and has been the subject of such racism and hatred seem to completely ignore their own history, and feel morally justified in doing exactly what their own enemies did to them. It is scary to think of where all this hatred will lead.

    Have they not learned from history? Have they forgotten what happens when you continue to incite and provoke and stereotype a large population against a small minority? Whatever happened to ‘Never Again!’? Or was there an exclusionary clause ingrained in that phrase that was not publicly verbalized?

    We pray, at this occasion of Eid, that Allah protects all Muslims from the evils of those who wish them harm, and indeed, Allah is sufficient as a Protector and Helper!

    Brothers and sisters, these DVDs are still being distributed, in the MILLIONS, and the situation is getting worse. I believe each and every one of us needs to act and do whatever we can to expose this venomous, xenophobic diatribe against our religion.

    After such attacks against innocent children, it is quite clear who the real terrorists are.

  2. Amad says:

    I was waiting for someone to write up about it!

    I felt its burden…

    ibnmasood, the site has been added to the links.

    A non-Muslim friend at work told me that he received two copies! He lives in PA, an important swing-state. He ditched both of them, and he was telling me how bad he feels about this whole situation. But he is an educated guy, who sees right through the fear-mongering. How many uneducated folk are there who would swallow this propaganda as truth?!

    I wish we had enough resources to follow up the distribution with a DVD on the life of the Prophet (S), maybe the one that PBS made.

    As Shaykh Yasir reminded, let’s be sure to take some action. Not merely read and feel bad. Inshallah, I will cobble something for the Delaware local newspaper tomorrow.

  3. MR says:

    It’s about time MM blogged about this!

  4. Amad says:

    MR, it takes time to put together a comprehensive post… and really the last 10 days has to be the worst time to take out any time!

  5. MR says:

    “Chemicals sprayed into Synagogue, Children Hurt”

    Replace Synagogue with Mosque and we have the reality of the MSM and the American people’s true feeling of Islam.

  6. ummafnaan says:

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

    Eid mubarak to all at MM.

    May Allah azza wa jal reward you for this brother Amad. Subhanallah! I cannot imagine what it must be like for the brothers and sisters who have to live this reality day in, day out.

    Allah is sufficient for His slaves as a Protector and as an Avenger.

  7. Yusuf Smith says:

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    Robert Spencer who runs the notorious ““Jihad Watch”

    I’m not sure what he’s doing in that list. Robert Spencer isn’t Jewish. He’s Catholic, specifically Melkite, i.e. a follower of the Syrian/Lebanese eastern-rite Catholic church (even if he contributes to Jewish-run hate sites like FrontPageRag).

  8. Abu Bakr says:

    Well written and informative… jazakallahu khayran

  9. Amad says:

    waalikumassalam Br. Yusuf.
    You are right Spencer is not Jewish. I didn’t know that he was Melkite though. Any relationship to Phalangists?

    By the way, I always add weasel words to escape generalities :)

    You will find the common thread of social identities that I just mentioned (with few exceptions):

  10. Amad says:

    waiyakum Br. Abu Bakr, glad that you found the piece useful. I was due for a useful piece for some time :)

    I should note that the obsessionwithhate.com website is great. It lists all the newspapers that are distributing this DVD, and those that refused. Be sure to check this list and take action, esp. if you live in one of the neighborhoods where the paper circulates.

    http://www.obsessionwithhate.com/thepapers.php

    ALSO, can folks please “STUMBLE” and “digg” this. This is another way of taking a little action that may go a long way in educating others on what is going on!

  11. Faiez says:

    The full video is on YouTube, maybe some people can make video replies to it.

  12. Proof that vilification leads to violence?…

    In the Wake of “Obsession” Hate-DVDs: Muslim Children Gassed in Ohio Mosque | MuslimMatters.org For the last few years the Daily Express, in the UK, has been running a front-page hate campaign against Muslims, continually harping on every petty conce…

  13. Amy says:

    As-salaamu alaikum

    Br. Amad, jazakallahu khairan for this incredibly thorough post.

    Like others above, I was just waiting for MM to post something on this, and may Allah reward you–this post is really full of all the things that people should be putting together. The DVD, the chemical attack, and the Israel lobby.

    What is especially ironic, and I conclude with this, is that while the video tries to portray Muslims as Nazis, it is the video itself that is spreading the same sort of hatred and intolerance about Muslims similar as what the Nazis created towards Jews, which ultimately led the Nazis to execute one of the greatest crimes against humanity. Contemplate that!

    So true.

    It’s clear you put a lot of time into this, when time was scarce (last 10 days of Ramadan) anyway. But this is something that needs to be read.

    Here in Raleigh (NC) the newspaper already published a number of letters from Muslims in the community about this DVD, and inshaaAllaah the masjid is planning for an open house in the coming weeks or months (weeks, I hope inshaaAllah).

    But really I just wanted to comment to say you did a great job with getting this post up.

  14. Abu 'Umar says:

    I should be stated that this propaganda is highly unoriginal. All they did was take some MEMRI clips and some of the rantings of ‘Umar Bakri’s crew and added some commentary by Emerson, Walid Shoy’bat, and few other usual suspects, along with the old neocon theme that it is 1938 all over again (Nazi appeasement, blah, blah…), and whipped it all together to produced a modern day Muslim equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Now most educated people will see through this garbage, or will through it in the trash along with the rest of the junk mail that comes in a newspaper. The problem is all those uneducated, lower-class, white people that already think Barack Obama is a secret Muslim.

  15. Ammar Karimi says:

    I’ve submitted this story on digg:

    There was a duplicate before this but no one had dugg it, and I think the title and description I chose are a little more eye-catching. Please go and digg this ASAP (registration is reqd, it’ll only take a min or two)
    I’m not too familiar with StumbleUpon, so someone plz post this on that site too

  16. Ammar Karimi says:

    Sorry abt the repost, but the digg link for some reason didn’t show up in the post above. I’ll try again without the “link” catcher:

    http://digg.com/political_opinion/Ohio_Mosque_Gassing_of_Children_A_Muslim_Viewpoint

    And lets try again with the link catcher:

  17. Ammar Karimi says:

    I’m having problems with posting and with the link here… here it is once again… let’s hope it works this time:

    http://digg.com/political_opinion/Ohio_Mosque_Gassing_of_Children_A_Muslim_Viewpoint

    (Link catcher isn’t working for me, sorry)

  18. My H-town says:

    Great piece Br. Amad. Jazakallah khair! I live in Ohio and have emailed the local newspaper here. People at the masjid were announcing it the other day how thousands of copies were distributed here. We were all encouraged to write the paper. One sister actually got a response from them. They defended themselves by merely apologizing for offending anyone. Gee thanks. Damage already done.

    Anyways, I emailed my newspaper. What have you done??

  19. sisterindeen says:

    Jazak Allahu khair for the article. It highlighted the issue at hand very well mashaAllah.

    So what can we do?

    One thing is for sure: speak to our neighbors, be a good example of Islam, do some grassroots da’wah and dialogue work.

    Seriously, if all the Muslims in America knew their neighbors and were good examples of Islam and were vocally good, righteous, active in their communities, this negative propaganda would be less paid attention to.

    It is our duty insha Allah to educate our neighbors about the true Islam and to show it with the best of manners and the kindest of conduct.

    May Allah guide us all, help the Muslims all over the world and let justice prevail, ameen.

  20. sisterindeen says:

    PS I think we really should utilize WhyIslam and CAIR to do some grassroots work. MashaAllah their Qur’an campaigns, tabling, etc… goes a long way.

  21. mulsimah says:

    salaam

    what I feared would be the result after these dvds were distributed just came true. this time i was really afraid the backlash would be directed toward children bc of the content in the movie.. is the story covered newhere else bsides in that diary??? why isnt it covered in the major newspapers bc this is a pretty major thing!!!!!! that makes me soo mad

  22. ibnabeeomar says:

    what about a lawsuit against the people who made it based on the fact that it directly caused a hate crime?

  23. Ammar Karimi says:

    I composed the following email and have mailed it to the BBC, CNN and SkyNews websites. Maybe more of you can use it as a template to mail to other news organizations, newspapers, etc.
    PS: If any of you can suggest some improvements in it, please do so

    There was recently an attack on a mosque in Dayton, Ohio. A gas was sprayed into a room in which babies and young children were kept while their mothers were praying. Panic then ensued as mothers desperately searched for their children who had started to become affected by the irritants in the gas.
    There was absolutely NO coverage of this vile and disturbing event ANYWHERE on your so-called fair and unbiased news website. This cowardly act was probably motivated by a DVD film by the name of ‘Obsession’ which is filled with hatred and false propaganda against Islam and Muslims and which earlier had been widely distributed across Ohio and indeed many other states in America. There has similarly been absolutely no coverage of how this hate-inducing DVD is being distributed for free (landing up in people’s mailboxes) by the millions across the USA, especially in the swing states, and where the creators of the DVD (a shadowy organization known as the Clarion Fund) are getting their funding from.
    If a similar DVD aimed at Jews and Judaism had been sweeping throughout the USA, your website would have immediately displayed the news, citing experts proclaiming how anti-semitism was taking hold in the country. If a similar attack had taken place on a church or synagogue, it would have been on the front page, probably blaming Muslim terrorists for the attack. Yet when Muslims are the victims, not a whisper is heard.
    It’s disgraceful that an organization such as INSERT_NAME has acted in such a biased and unprofessional manner. I hope that these stories will be brought to light soon and that the menace of Islamophobia currently taking a stronger and stronger hold in America will be highlighted by the mainstream media.

  24. ibnabeeomar,

    Is there evidence that this hate crime was directly caused by the Obsession dvds?

  25. http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/09/29/ddn092908mosquefoloweb.html

    Police: No evidence of hate crime at local mosque

    By Lucas Sullivan

    Staff Writer

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    DAYTON — A 10-year-old girl sprayed in the face with a chemical Friday, Sept. 26, while at a local Islamic mosque was not the victim of a hate crime, police Chief Richard Biehl said.

    The girl was watching children whose parents and relatives had gathered at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, 26 Josie St., to celebrate Ramadan when she noticed two men standing outside a basement window about 9:40 p.m., according to police.

    One of the men then sprayed something through the open window and into the girl’s face from a white can with a red top, according to a police report. The girl said she immediately felt burning on her face and felt “sick to her stomach,” the report stated.

    Other children and a woman in the room felt affects from the chemical and the mosque was evacuated.

    “The men didn’t say anything to her (before she was sprayed),” Biehl said. “There was nothing left at the scene or anything that makes us believe this is a biased crime.”

    HAZMAT crews called to the scene started testing for chemicals less than 20 minutes after a member of the mosque called 911, team coordinator Denny Bristow said.

    “Whatever chemical was released it dissipated too quickly for us to determine what it was,” Bristow said. “We can test for about 130 to 140 chemicals, including pepper spray, and all our tests came back negative.”

    Bristow said there were no chemicals found on the 10-year-old girl.

    A few of the 300 people celebrating the last 10 days of Ramadan with dinner and a prayer session were treated for eye irritation at the scene.

    Mosque board member Tarek Sabagh said many people within the mosque speculated that the incident was the result of a DVD about Islamic radicalism titled “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” that was mailed to area homes by its producers and circulated as a paid advertisement with more than 70 newspapers, including the Dayton Daily News.

    “We are not linking the two at all,” Sabagh said.

    Biehl said the incident will be assigned to a detective today, Sept. 30, since it happened over the weekend. The detective will determine if a crime was committed. The police report of the incident was filed Monday afternoon. He said a detective was at the scene Friday.

    Normal prayer services were held at the mosque through the weekend and on Monday, Sabagh said. The 10-year-old girl and the woman who was in the room with her have returned to the mosque, he said.

    Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. During the month, Muslims fast (do not eat) from sunrise to sunset. In the evening and in the morning before the sun comes up, they eat small meals. During this month, they take extra time for family, inner reflection, and spiritual growth.

    Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2494 or lsullivan@DaytonDailyNews.com

  26. Amad says:

    It is amazing that they would consider this not to be a hate-crime. They are using technicalities to dismiss this. What was this then? An attempted robbery? A love-crime? I mean why would anyone spray something into a mosque except out of a sense of hatred, prejudice or some other sinister motivation. Thus, even if it is not officially labeled as such (and I know how difficult they make it for crimes against Muslims to be labeled hate-crimes… there are many examples from Texas that perhaps Iesa can share), common sense dictates that indeed some motivation of hate was involved.

    And as I mentioned in my post, I am not willing to consider it as a coincidence. And it doesn’t change the fact that the DVD is spreading hatred. So, I believe a proven connection is not necessary to condemn the incident and reminding people what hate can ultimately lead to… this and worse.

    jazakumallahkhair Ammar, my H-town, Amy and everyone who has taken action or planning to take action.

  27. Amad says:

    My letter to the Delaware newspaper (borrowed some from Ammar):
    ————————

    Dear Editor:
    I would like to bring your attention to a recent incident that occurred at Dayton, Ohio’s main mosque. Unidentified individual(s) sprayed chemicals into a section of the mosque where children were being baby-sit. Panic then ensued as mothers desperately searched for their children who had started to become affected by the irritants in the gas. While this is not being treated as a hate-crime for technical legal reasons, there is no doubt about how severe the emotional impact has been on those affected, based on eye-witness accounts.

    An important story like this was only reported in the Dayton local newspaper. There was little if any coverage of this vile and disturbing event in the mainstream media, including your paper.

    Most members of the mosque believe that this cowardly act was probably motivated by a DVD film by the name of ‘Obsession’, which is filled with hatred and false propaganda against Islam and Muslims, and which was earlier distributed across Ohio and 13 other swing-states. The effort is clearly designed to sway elections, ostensibly towards McCain, as he usually polls ahead of Obama in terms of who would do a better job with homeland security. Neither McCain nor Obama have repudiated this hate-DVD, and neither has made a statement on this mosque incident.

    Please note that the DVD, produced by a shadowy organization called Clarion Fund, is meant to appeal to an emotional level, in creating fear. There has little coverage of how this hate-inducing DVD is being paid-for and distributed for free (landing up in people’s mailboxes) by the millions across the USA.

    I hope that your paper will do a more detailed report on the DVD, as well as this scary incident at the Dayton Mosque. The story is important as it brings to light the menace of Islamophobia currently taking a greater and greater hold in America everyday. And it also brings to light some of the players behind this campaign of hate.

    For more information, readers and editors can see:
    http://www.obsessionwithhate.com/
    http://tinyurl.com/3r5t72
    http://tinyurl.com/4vzv9s
    http://tinyurl.com/3qx2ce
    http://tinyurl.com/4kg93l

    Regards,
    Amad Shaikh

  28. Kamran says:

    Asalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

    Eid Mubarak to you all. May Allah swt increase us all in Imaan.

    404- 827-0234
    CNN’s Comment Line – Call to get this story on the air!!!

    Alhamdulillah we have MM which can present these issues to the larger Muslim population all over the globe. InshaAllah with our efforts (emails, phone calls, letters) we can prevent further DVD’s from being distributed. It is time that we strive for the sake of Islam with hikmah and sabr.

    UTILIZE YOUR SKILLS:
    Khateebs – Bring awareness to your communities
    Writers/Bloggers – Keep on writing mashaAllah
    MSA’s – Join with other groups and take collective action on your university campus to bring awareness
    Even Gossip Queens – Go call your friends and tell them what’s up
    Everyone else – find your skill and find a way to help inshaAllah

    Also, I live in Chicago and want to visit the Obama Campaign Headquarters out here. Does anyone think contacting them would help?

  29. mohd ariff says:

    Hatred among people is the most dangerous poison that could ruined human life & death could resulted from their doing. These activities is unavoidable as to many people on earth. Human life should be value pricelessly & only dying naturallyshould be accepted otherwise unresponsible act towards life shouldn’t be allowed.
    People must always learn to live as a families as we need each others to live. How can we kill our families as we need them always. These are the people, they don’t have the lovingness towards other humans being & they taking others life as chopping of the trees. We always understand these happening on many reasons. The worst of these acts is mostly came from the bad groups or leaders, as they given unlawful instructions to sabotage or causing alots bad acts thats normally losing many lifes & suffered.
    People need to join a healthy groups or just saying “1899” we might be given the real true faithful life & we belief nothing like that will happen to any one, day, time as everyone will be protected & live in harmony.
    We will find the truth of ” SAYING 1899″ & people who living today & tomorrow wouldn’t be regretted.

    Don’t take your life or others life as death is for every creatures living on earth
    Be good & friendly as its making life meaningful always

    Mohd Singapore

  30. Adnan Qureshi says:

    Amad,

    Good Article man. It’s so totally true. Anyways, I found another equally good article that totally validates your point.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08274/916120-153.stm

    Happy Viewing !!!

    Adnan Qureshi

  31. Yaser Birjas says:

    Jazaka’allahu khayran Amad,

    This incident reminded me with what had happened in El Paso back in 2004 around the week of Sep. 11 of that year. A man after watching a program on TV on the attacks of Sep. 11, came to our Masjid on Sunday while the children of the weekend school were playing outside. He designed two Molotov cocktails and trying to cause a great harm to the children and the property. He was caught in less than half an hour and was brought to justice where he serves now (I think) more than 19 years in jail for that incident. You can check this case on the government records here

    and this too

    Same scenario: Watching something, provoke hate, take dangerous action against innocent children.

    I wonder if this precedent can help us bring those who did it to justice just like it happened in El Paso? Include this in your letters and messages to show that things can be done in timely manner.

  32. Yaser Birjas says:

    I don’t know where the links did go but here they are again:

    First Link

    Second Link

    Shaykh, the links in your original comment are working. -Amad

  33. DrM says:

    Asalam Aliakum,
    Its time. Time for a new Judeofascist Awareness Week! Many of the scum on “obsessed with hatred” site were profile by me last year :

    http://drmaxtor.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html

    Any nominees for this year?

  34. Innalhamdolillah. Reading this post and responses, I can’t help but think of Iesa Galloway’s article. Make dua that Allah subhanahu wata ala will give us Guidance. Because we need to do a good job: Allah answers the duas of the oppressed. Not just about the oppressors but against those who should have acted.

    These are brothers, sisters, and children who have been assailed in a place of prayer.

    We owe them our best effort.

  35. phil says:

    @Amad “It is amazing that they would consider this not to be a hate-crime. They are using technicalities to dismiss this. What was this then?”
    i think its a pretext for them eating donuts and doing nothing to find the person responsible for this.

  36. Yaser Birjas says:

    If the Ohio police needs some help we can send them some from El Paso in Texas :) who caught our guy in less than half an hour .

  37. ilmsummitee says:

    Our masjid experienced quite a bit of hatred after 9.11

    We had graffiti vandalism over and over again on our white masjid and egged a few times. Very profance words, and the such. (THATS why we need to fix our security cameras!)

    Then, in Ramadan as we were leaving from Taraweeh prayer some of us witnessed 2 men in a truck speeding away from our parking lot…..we tried to catch their license plate #’s but to no avail. Apparently they had slashed some tires but mostly threw spikes and metals that casued flat tires.

    But alhamduilah, alhamduilah we never had any ‘attacks’ on our community.

    Those people who act on their hateful emotions are ignorant cowards nothing more.

    May Allah protect our Muslim community here and abroad.

  38. Amad says:

    Interestingly, the original link to the article in Dayton News is now redirected to a story about this not being a hate crime. That is the original link now points to a DIFFERENT story that is a headline on this not being a hate-crime. Why the original link was not left in place, as is “normal”, with the new story of hate-crime technicalities as a different link… I’ll let you ponder over that.

    This is a cached link: http://tinyurl.com/3qx2ce

  39. Danish S. says:

    Amad (Author) said:

    Interestingly, the original link to the article in Dayton News is now redirected to a story about this not being a hate crime. That is the original link now points to a DIFFERENT story that is a headline on this not being a hate-crime. Why the original link was not left in place, as is “normal”, with the new story of hate-crime technicalities as a different link… I’ll let you ponder over that.

    This is a cached link: http://tinyurl.com/3qx2ce

    I was as concerned about this incident as the next person but after 141 chemical tests nothing was found. I think we should just move on (seems like the original news reports were a bit exaggerated) otherwise the conspiracy theories will start soon…and we all know how Muslims are with those things :)

    Also it’s interesting to note that CAIR or any other Muslim organization never reported this.

    Lastly, the American Muslim community has had more serious incidents occur than this and they were not labeled as hate crimes. For example, on June 20, 2000 (pre/9/11) we witnessed a tragic event – a man went on a shooting rampage at a mosque here in Memphis, TN. Until that time, an incident such as that was not heard of (for any religious institution). It became international news at the time. CAIR was one of the organizations that dispatched representatives to assist with the crush of media.

    Here’s a very old copy of an AP press release (reprinted in Turkey):

    https://turkishdailynews.com.tr/archives.php?id=18028 (scroll down to “Shooting at Tennessee mosque”)

    The possibility of a hate crime was quickly ruled out by the FBI (not to be bias but this had more chance of being a hate crime than the recent OH incident):

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-27992270.html

    The college student who did this was released the very NEXT day on bond and eventually acquitted altogether:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20010526111658/msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/200006/20000622.10.html
    OR
    http://www.islamonline.net/english/News/2002-01/14/article28.shtml

    And the moral of the story? Let’s not be quick to wave a bloody shirt.

  40. Danish is 100 percent correct on this.

    We have to be sure that information we are spreading is true. At the very least we cannot get out ahead of the people who actually were involved in the incident. We should be following the lead of the Dayton Mosque and its leadership. At the very least the story as it now seems is very different than initial reports about someone putting poison chemicals into the vents of the mosque. We should encourage full investigation of the incident, but we have to be open to discovering the truth of the matter…not just finding something which fits our agenda, no matter how righteous our agenda may be.

    Allaah knows best.

  41. http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/09/30/ddn093008mosquecopsweb.html

    Can of pepper spray found near mosque

    By Lucas Sullivan

    Staff Writer

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    DAYTON — A can of pepper spray was found Tuesday, Sept. 30, near a local Islamic mosque evacuated Friday after a girl inside was sprayed with a chemical irritant.

    Someone found the black can of pepper spray in a white and red bag near the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, 26 Josie St., and called police, Lt. John Huber said.

    Detectives are trying to lift fingerprints off the bag and can, Huber said.

    He echoed police Chief Richard Biehl’s comments that there is no evidence the 10-year-old girl was the victim of a hate crime.

    “You have to have evidence of bias and right now we have none,” Huber said.

    The girl was watching children whose parents and relatives had gathered at the mosque to celebrate Ramadan when she noticed two men standing outside a basement window about 9:40 p.m., she told police.

    One of the men then sprayed her through the open window, she said. The girl said her face was burning and she felt nauseous.

    Another woman in the room felt nauseous and the mosque was evacuated.

    HAZMAT crews called to the scene found no traces of chemicals in the mosque or on the girl.

    A few of the 300 people celebrating the last 10 days of Ramadan with dinner and a prayer session were treated for eye irritation at the scene.

    Islamic Society of Greater Dayton President Dr. Tarek Sabagh issued a written statement Tuesday that said the organization was cooperating with police.

    “We ask the community to be patient and to refrain from speculation in this case while the investigation is being completed,” Sabagh said. “We need to focus on the facts of this case and not let rumor and speculation take over.”

    He said he will not talk about the incident again until the investigation is completed.

  42. Danish S. says:

    Thanks for the update Abu Noor!

  43. Amad says:

    I think we should ask those mothers and children how trivial they felt this incident was. Sometimes the fear of the unknown and the emotional trauma is more terrifying that the physical harm itself. Who will remove this episode from the tiny minds in that room? That is why in the legal system, emotional trauma is many times worth more in monetary damages than physical damages.

    If terrorism is to inject terror, then the eye-witness account has every indication of the terror that a previously unknown chemical caused to children and their parents. I would like us to imagine having our child being in that room, and what must have gone through our minds at that time? Think about it. Let’s not trivialize an incident because it turned out that the chemical was less harmful than it could have been. The logical leap between pepper spray and something more hazardous may just be availability. The rising Islamophobia, fueled by DVDs like Obsession, will only enhance and hasten future incidents, may Allah protect us all.

    Finally, I repeat, if the same thing had happened in a church or synagogue, do you think the coverage would be the same? Do you think the Jewish or Christian community would try to trivialize it because it JUST turned out to be pepper spray? I don’t think so. I think the coverage would be 100x more intense and “exaggerated”, because hate-crimes, regardless of technicalities of what constitutes it, can never be exaggerated enough. Wallahualam.

  44. Amad,

    I have many disagreements or issues I would wish to clarify in your last comment, but I don’t think it’s worth it since you are already accusing me of “trivializing” an incident although I have in no way done that, and my comments are there for all to see so I would ask you to more carefully consider accusations you would make.

    I don’t think it’s correct either to keep referring to a complete lack of any evidence that something is a hate crime as a “technicality.” Of course it is concerning when any child is attacked or assaulted in any way, and of course the fact that it occurs at a house of worship is even more alarming. Still, that is all that we know. We can speculate this way or that way, but I prefer to agree with and follow the advice of the President of the Islamic Center where this occurred and “not let rumor and speculation take over.” I also don’t think what some Jews or Christians may or may not do is my standard of what is the correct way to act.

    I believe this is the correct approach and of course you are more than welcome to disagree and proceed as you see fit. May Allaah (swt) reward you for your concern for the Muslim ummah. May Allaah (swt) forgive us for our weakness in not being able to stop this and the thousands of much worse incidents that go on on a daily basis against Muslim and non-Muslim children and do whatever we can to protect them, just as we hopefully do for our own children.

    Allaah knows best.

  45. Oh, and another thing Amad…….EID MUBARAK!!!!!!

  46. Danish S. says:

    Amad (Author) said:

    I think we should ask those mothers and children how trivial they felt this incident was. Sometimes the fear of the unknown and the emotional trauma is more terrifying that the physical harm itself. Who will remove this episode from the tiny minds in that room? That is why in the legal system, emotional trauma is many times worth more in monetary damages than physical damages.

    If terrorism is to inject terror, then the eye-witness account has every indication of the terror that a previously unknown chemical caused to children and their parents. I would like us to imagine having our child being in that room, and what must have gone through our minds at that time? Think about it. Let’s not trivialize an incident because it turned out that the chemical was less harmful than it could have been. The logical leap between pepper spray and something more hazardous may just be availability. The rising Islamophobia, fueled by DVDs like Obsession, will only enhance and hasten future incidents, may Allah protect us all.

    Finally, I repeat, if the same thing had happened in a church or synagogue, do you think the coverage would be the same? Do you think the Jewish or Christian community would try to trivialize it because it JUST turned out to be pepper spray? I don’t think so. I think the coverage would be 100x more intense and “exaggerated”, because hate-crimes, regardless of technicalities of what constitutes it, can never be exaggerated enough. Wallahualam.

    I agree with Abu Noor – no one is trivializing anything.

    Actually something like this DID happen at a *church* in Knoxville, TN this past July. It was the Universal Unitarian Church and a man went on a shooting rampage while killing at least one church member and wounding several others:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/07/27/church.shooting/index.html

    What was his motive? He “hated liberals and gays” (that can easily be perceived as a hate crime):

    http://www.counterpunch.org/block08062008.html

    Another church member said the shoot was saying “hateful things” as he was shooting:

    http://www.thedailytimes.com/article/20080728/NEWS/439040145

    [Please note that this church is historically known for promoting noble things like desegregation in the South as well as standing up for women’s rights to vote.]

    It was NOT classified as a hate crime though.

    What *if* the culprit here turns out to be a Muslim kid playing what he thought was a prank? How will the Muslim community look then?

    It’s not uncommon.

    For example, anyone who attended the Eid prayer Falls Church, VA (near the D.C. area) yesterday may heard about the fire alarm incident during the prayer. The entire hotel had to be evacuated and it turned out to be a Muslim kid who pulled the alarm. As a side note, the doorways became blocked because even though the fire alarms were going off, people were stopping to give each other Eid greetings (gotta love us Muslims). If, and Allah Forbid, that was a real emergency and the exits were blocked, that would’ve been a terrible tragedy (caused entirely on our own no less).

  47. Amad says:

    Akhi Abu Noor, Eid Mubarak to you and your family.

    I feel that you misunderstood the spirit of my comment. My comment was not meant to be antagonist or accusatory at all. I completely understand your and Br. Danish’s perspectives. And I agree that we have to be careful not to be conspiracy-minded all the time. My comment was really a general statement on all crimes of intolerance, rather than being in specific reply to you. A high level of attention, alarm, and punishment all have a significant deterrent effect. Furthermore, they give an opportunity to expose hatred and to educate people of the growing intolerance. I do feel that if the incident happened at a synagogue, the Jewish community who have media relations down to an art, would make a much bigger deal of it, than we ever could. And I would agree with that course of action.

    As far as hate-crimes, let me give you another example. At the Champions Mosque in Houston some time ago, a dry-ice bomb was placed in their mail-box. Thankfully no one was nearby when the mailbox exploded. The bomb was not termed as hate-crime either. There are technicalities in the law that law officials have to be abide by when terming something hate-crime or not because it affects the penalties and level of investigation, from what little I know.

    Finally, I would much more agree with you if there was no one in the Masjid and some spray was discharged there. But once you have people who suffer tremendous emotional turmoil, even when there is little risk of physical hurt, the situation becomes far more serious.

  48. Siraaj says:

    What *if* the culprit here turns out to be a Muslim kid playing what he thought was a prank? How will the Muslim community look then?

    My concerns exactly.

    Siraaj

  49. having a hard time contemplating the idea of a Muslim irresponsible enough to fit the bill? read this very good article: http://muslimmatters.org/2007/06/13/The Adolescent Myth. throw in GTA, WWE, Jackass, and other American ideas of entertainment, and it really is not that hard to imagine.

    i agree that commentators should exercise restraint until the culprits are caught. but hatemongers or just-plain-stupid, non-Muslims or not, whoever caused all this fear and distress has a huge burden now to that masjid and especially that little girl and her family.

  50. Amad,

    The discussion over what is a “technicality” and what is a decent respect for evidence is a discussion we should probably have in another context separate from any specific incident, since every crime, especially one involving children is emotional and distorts attempt at reasoned discussion. Suffice it to say from a legal perspective, as opposed to a political or social perspective from which it may make a lot of sense, is very problematic in practice even more so than theory. (Just because I don’t know who knows this and not to say that this means I’m right or anything but in terms of my own background I am an attorney so I have done at least some thinking and study of that particular issue).

    As I think you’ve seen from others as well, the biggest problem with this particular case is that we do not have enough information. IN such a situation, we should say “this is what we know, this is why it’s very concerning to us, and we are waiting to see what else the investigation shows. Perhaps this is exactly what you believe you did with your post, but to a certain extent it could seem that many of us were making a bunch of assumptions based on what we know which is natural but dangerous.

    As I am with mainstream political activism, I am actually skeptical of traditional activist media techniques and strategies as well, but putting that discussion completely to the side, I would think that even traditional political and media activists would see the danger of speaking about a story without being in contact with the people who were actually involved and having them on board with what you are doing….in most cases one would I assume not want to be pushing the story in a way the actual victims were not in favor of, but even if in some cases one would feel the need to do that, at the least one would want to have all the information possible about what occurred.

    Allaah knows best. Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for your patient explanation and clarification of what you were trying to do.

  51. mulsimah says:

    salaam

    I understand what you all are saying. But didnt eyewitnesses say it was a ‘man’ meaning not a kid. now why would an adult muslim man start spraying pepper spray from a window?

    And whoever did it, it was a serous crime so why isnt it being reported like one?!

  52. mulsimah says:

    salaam

    Another thing is that this hate video being spread is pretty serious. I would not be surprised if there are other hate crimes toward children considering the content of the video. before this happened, I was already afraid something like this would happen.

  53. Irena binti Idris says:

    Assalamualaikum wrt , Eid Mubarak

    It greatly saddens me to read about this despicable crime targeted toward Muslims in general but more so toward innocent children who happen to be Muslims. I can only pray to Allah subhanaahuwaataala that the children is safe and that parents should take extra care and precaution to ensure that safety is to be considered at all times no matter where we happen to be. It is an era when crimes of all sorts and degrees are targeted to Muslims everywhere, and only Allah Taala can protect us. May Allah relieve all the children affected of their fear and pain and give them strength and great fortitude to endure the hardships they have just experienced. Take care.

    Your humble sister in Islam from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Irena

  54. gkc says:

    Jazak ALLAHU khairan for posting this. I appreciate many of the sentiments expressed in your article. I do, however, take issue with the contrast of our treatment against the treatment of the Jews. It is common knowledge to Muslims that we are, for the most part, not afforded the same equality, support, or overall respect that is enjoyed by other faiths. It seems that every time an injustice to Islam or Muslims is reported upon, there is some mention of “and what if… Jews or Christians,” conspiracy theories, “Israeli hand in the cookie jar,” or similar complaints.

    Would we then be content if we were treated as the Jews were treated? Would that be good enough for us? Then people would say, “Well… isn’t that what you guys were always complaining about. You’ve got it now. What more do you want?” I know that what I am saying is controversial to so many, but I feel that always mentioning the Jews in our defense against inequality is very ineffective, and often, more damaging than productive. We need to lay stake to our legitimate claims of parity and respect, not because someone else gets them, but because everyone deserves them.

    I have left some Muslim media outlets because I felt that, though they decried Western anti-Islamic propaganda, they indulged in the very same thing but in favor of Islam. I believe that Muslims are better than that. I reminded me of the first time I realized this tug-of-war between Western and Islamic media. I was watching CNN Egypt and there was a story about a Palestinian bombing in which dozens of women and children were killed. I went back to the computer and looked up CNN America. The exact same bombing was a front-page story, detailing the number of Israelis killed. Muslims need not be constantly reminded of what they already know. There is a wide chasm of inequality between Jews/Muslims, and Israelis/Palestinians, particularly in the West. But that knowledge provides us very little that can affect positive change, particularly within the present cultural and religious climate. I am in no way implying that this article is propaganda; it is not. I am just trying to say efforts to combat the DVD, or helping the victims of this hate crime, will not be augmented because we know that there are Jews behind the DVD’s production, or that if this happened in a synagogue it would have been officially deemed a hate crime.

    What then? Keep in mind that there is no challenge that we face today, for which there is not some lesson left behind by the Prophet (SAW), or for which there are no words from the Quran that address it. Look to the Sahaba and the Prophet (SAW) during their time of oppression. We have a treasure trove of words in the Quran or hadith that we can apply not only in writing, but in speech and in action.

    I will do my best and write some national media outlets, demanding that this incident be reported in all truth and fairness, and that the obviously negligent civic authorities and local media will be exposed. I pray that ALLAH (SWT) will endow us all with the wisdom and knowledge to raise the ranks of Muslims and Islam in this life and in the Hereafter. Ameen. I do not mean to offend anyone, but am merely expressing an opinion. Jazak ALLAHU khairan again for writing this article. Not surprisingly, I had not heard of this despicable incident, and pray for the safety and relief of these Muslims.

    Fi AmanILLAH…

  55. Amad says:

    gkc: There is a lot of food for thought in your comment. I appreciate your insight.

    I believe that as a society, we always look for “social proof” for our actions and our rights. Sometimes it is easier to point out that we have a certain right, and to provide an example to illustrate that right. Human beings in general do a better job measuring issues in relative terms, than in absolute terms. Anchoring helps deliver thoughts more effectively, especially when you anchor it against a high bar.

    As for the DVD itself, I think it is pertinent to know and disseminate information on who is bankrolling and sponsoring its production and distribution. And also to capture what they have in common with other Islamophobia-creation campaigns. Perhaps with this information, we would know how to target certain people in our campaigns to discredit them and paint them for what they are: bigots and radicals.

  56. gkc says:

    Salaams… Yes, I see your point about both the anchoring of a thought/right and the origin of the DVD. In all fairness, I think that my comment was not wholly directed at your post, but at the tendency for so many Muslims to turn “social proof” into a maudlin engagement of “us v. them.” It’s become a natural reaction to any injustice against Muslims, and I don’t interpret it as a practical establishment of proof (because the principles at stake are well-established), but as a precipitation of religious tension/strife.

    What you wrote was true— that the DVD would have stirred national controversy had it been about another religious group. However, what I find more important than WHO was responsible for this, was HOW it happened- what was our measure of responsibility as a community. We may be able to discredit one writer/producer, but they’ll keep on coming unless we bolster support for Islam and Muslims from without, so that there are more reactions to anti-Islamic propaganda like the one your co-worker had. We, Muslims, know that they are bigots and radicals, but how do we convince the general public? This, of course, could take years or even decades to analyze and fix. But, I would like to see a change in the discourse- AWAY from disdaining the dirty culprits and TOWARDS what we can do to stall their efforts and gain support in the broad landscape of public opinion.

    You gave several ways at the end of the article. And, I would add that the way you live out Islam in your everyday life also has the potential to change public opinion- one person, neighbor, co-worker, or friend at a time.

  57. bismillah. i have not seen the DVD, but if anyone doubts the power of an effective film or video to stir prejudice in this country, he has only to look up the history of the DW Griffith film “Birth of a Nation.”

    its portrayal of blacks stirred so much fear and hatred that crimes and violence by whites on blacks soared in every place the film was shown. and for those of you who sit avidly in front of the TV to watch the academy awards, this is the same Griffith for whom one of the academy’s highest honors is named. disgusting, but it also shows that the malaa of this country are willing to live with prejudice against disenfranchised minorities.

  58. Dayton Daily News has a new story, there doesn’t seem to be any new information but it basically talks about how the story spread through the blogosphere based on Chris Rodda’s piece. My concerns are only exacerbated by this report as Ms. Rodda states she didn’t talk to mosque, police, or medical personnel involved but her information came from “people who know some people who attend the mosque.”

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/10/03/ddn100308mosque.html

    Bloggers call mosque attack hate crime
    A 10-year-old girl says two men sprayed her with a substance while she was at a local Islamic Center.
    Poll: Is there an anti-islamic sentiment in America?
    > Find more on this story in our free archives

    By Lucas Sullivan and Khalid Moss

    Staff Writers

    Friday, October 03, 2008

    DAYTON — When Chris Rodda saw the story about a 10-year-old girl at a local mosque was sprayed in the face by a stranger, she expresed her outrage through her journal, or blog, on the World Wide Web. Her entry and those of other bloggers characterized the incident as a hate crime, which created similar perceptions around the world even though investigators say they have no evidence it was.

    The girl told Dayton police she was in the basement of the Islamic Center of Greater Dayton on Friday, Sept. 26, when she saw two men standing outside a window. One of the men sprayed her through the open window. The girl told police her face was burning and she felt nauseous.

    A woman in the room said she also felt nauseous and the mosque was evacuated.

    HAZMAT crews detected no known chemical irritants in the mosque or on the girl, but a can of pepper spray was found this week near the mosque, police said.

    The incident occurred four days after a DVD titled “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” appeared as a paid advertising insert in the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers nationwide.

    Dayton police, in conjunction with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, said they have no evidence the girl was the victim of a hate crime. Police said they have no suspects.

    Rodda, who calls herself a novice blogger, was among the first to post an entry about the incident. Her entry, posted Sunday, titled “Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After Obsession DVD Hits Ohio,” was immediately picked up by other sites and generated thousands of comments on the Web.

    Rodda said she “sensationalized” the headline on her blog to draw attention.

    “I was mad, so I sort of shot from the hip,” Rodda said, adding she has not talked to any law enforcement agencies, hospital officials or Islamic Center president Dr. Tarek Sabagh. She said her information came from people who know some people that attend the mosque.

    Other bloggers soon posted their own thoughts.

    In Washington, D.C., the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, issued a statement calling the incident a “senseless act of violence.” Hillary Ross Browning expressed sympathy for the victims and issued a call for peace on Daytonblogs.mostmetro.com.

    “We need to demonstrate to the people of the Dayton Islamic Center that … we will not tolerate this hatred in our community.”

    Another post titled “Terrorists attack Ohio mosque,” written by Aziz Poonawalla appeared on Beliefnet.com.

    “Anyone who tries to disclaim any link between this despicable attack and the release of 20 million copies of the ‘Obsession’ DVD is either a fool or a liar,” wrote Poonawalla, who has been blogging on Islamic affairs since 2002.

    Sabagh said Tuesday the DVD has created an “atmosphere of fear,” but “we don’t want to jump to conclusions.”

    Contact these reporters at lsullivan@DaytonDailyNews.com or kmoss@DaytonDailyNews.com.

  59. Danish S. says:

    @gkc

    You said what many of us are thinking – we should stop the baiting (i.e., “look at the Jews”, “the Jews did it”, etc) and repeating the obvious (i.e., Muslims are not always treated/perceived favorably by the media, etc).

    @Amad

    I understand your intention of trying to bring some fairness into Muslim type issues and I’m glad to know you understand what Abu Noor and myself were trying to point out as well. In general, I’d like to add that we should be careful how we express our desired outcome as gkc pointed out. Do we want to be “like the Jews” or is it fairness we’re seeking?

    Also, not to belabor the point, but in 1997 a KKK member went to a Dallas synagogue with a rifle and started shooting outside saying “Die, Jews, die!” yet was never charged with a hate crime:

    http://www.cnn.com/US/9704/27/briefs.pm/synagogue/

    ============================

    Honestly, to continue talking about “the Jews” in the manner many Muslims do is counterproductive.

    Firstly, not all people of the Jewish faith act or think the same way or hold the same opinions. Secondly, if immigrant Muslim Americans should take any lesson from Jewish Americans it should be how they were able to integrate into society considering the prejudice and racism they faced when they tried to move up in society during the 20th century. There was no complaining or seeking preferential treatment that helped them progress. It was ambition and hard work that made them part of the American fabric in such a short time.

    We should remember that it was only 50-60 years ago that people of the Jewish faith were marching in the streets with African Americans (AA’s) during the civil rights era. And many of those AA’s were actually Muslims. Today Muslims try to quote Dr. King when it comes to the Palestinian issue yet many Muslims sell liquor in majority AA neighborhoods and use the word “abeed” and “kallu” freely in the masjid (which is only one of the many issues AA converts have about racism in the Muslim community).

    On the other hand, there’s also the problem that most immigrant and their children (even grandchildren) don’t realize about Islam in the early to mid- 20th century. That problem is many AA Muslims at the time were following SUNNI Islam which was quickly becoming mainstream through its appropriation in the African American community. Yes, Sunni Islam, not NOI (which was splintering at that point). There were AA Muslims marching in the streets during the Civil Rights era as well.

    At that time Islam began to be known as a way to turn your life around, to make you a responsible father/mother, to uplift you, to educate you, and so on. This is why there was a surge in popularity with figures like Malcolm X (if you grew up in the 80’s here you should definitely remember the “X” hats and Malcolm t-shirts). Muslims were still known to be honorable, upright individuals all the way until the early 90’s. Take a look back at pop culture at the time and you’ll hear positive things about Islam in songs and how Muslims were portrayed in movies marketed to AA’s. It wasn’t until the immigration boom started in the late 20th century that this appropriation literally dissolved and the more resourceful, better educated, Arabic speaking, and traditionally trained immigrant Muslims were able to redefine what Muslims are. This gave a chance to right wing zealots and left wing secularists to cast Muslims as “foreign and dangerous” and “self righteous and out of touch” respectively.

    I’m sure there will be some that take exception to what I’m saying and that’s ok. I can only hope that everything is considered with an open mind and that we’re honest with ourselves about what we can do better as Americans that are blessed to be Muslims.

    At the end of the day we should ask ourselves how can we represent our religion accurately and share the beauty of our faith with our fellow Americans? There are many Americans that are agnostic, they are seeking Divine Guidance but don’t know where to look (because they are dissatisfied with the church they attend) – are we providing them a viable alternative? Muslims often say “Islam is a way of life”. The average American wants to know “Is Islam also compatible with my AMERICAN way of life?” In recent times it does not seem like we have done our part to illustrate that.

    Lastly, as Shaykh Yasir Qadhi pointed out in his Eid khutbah in Connecticut, most Americans have not even MET a Muslim.

    http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2008/10/hundreds_break.php#011569more

    This alone should make us understand that we are not on the average American’s mind. We tend to think we are more important than we actually are to most Americans. Most people are concerned with the economy, health care, education, their own families, and so on.

    In politics or even in marketing, when someone is new to the scene, the opposition tries to define them because they have not had time to define themselves. In the case of the Muslim community, as I pointed previously, we’ve done that on our own in the past 20-30 years when the immigration boom started. The “back home” mentality has permeated our community for years (it’s only recently that we even recognized this as a problem) and for the longest time “integration” was a taboo subject. That’s what the Emersons’ and Pipes’ of the world have exploited and used against Islam and Muslims (i.e., “they are foreigners”, “they hate America”, etc).

    So what’s the lesson we should learn from all of this? Like gkc pointed out in his/her last post – let’s just live our lives as normal, everyday people that don’t want special treatment but that put Islam into action. At the end of the day, that is what counts and makes the most difference.

    And Allah Knows Best.

  60. Amad says:

    I am just disappointed that the reporter didn’t notice our story :) Point taken, brother.

    By the way, pepper spray is a chemical irritant!

    Br. AbuAbdullah, if you look at the story Adnan linked to, it goes into what you mentioned.

  61. Amad says:

    Danish, were the points you made after adding double-line breaks yours or are you quoting someone?

    I am not sure how “Jew-bashing”, which is reprehensible, came into this equation. I have made very clear which section of the Jewish community I am talking about. Just like there are radicals among the Muslims, who deserve to be called out, there are radicals among the Jews who deserve to be called out.

    So, please clarify.

  62. Danish S. says:

    The comments after the break were general comments and not in response to anyone.

    Also, I did not accuse anyone of “Jew bashing” or imply that anyone was doing that. Rather I was specifically referring to the common mantra of being “like the Jews” or “look at the Jews” that many Muslims have a tendency to keep referring to.

  63. Amad says:

    Btw, here’s more Islamophobia, packaged as a movie… Zucker…feel free to google him… you will notice many similarities in his background with our cast of hate-producers.

    Here’s a glowing review from right-wing National review online, with this line:

    American Carol represents the efforts of a team that wanted to put together an unapologetically American film that explains some basic truths, takes on some hard topics — including the war on Islamofascism — and really presses the Left.

    [Source]

    It’s not a coincidence which set of people are consistently producing Islamophobia… and the timing again is quite interesting.

  64. Amad says:

    Well, akhi Danish, I think in many areas, Jews do provide an excellent example to emulate. PR is one area, politics is another. There is a lot we can learn from another minority. Most Jews are liberals, so I think that with many Muslims now also progressive (politically)-leaning, it can only the help the learning and partnerships in areas of common ground. And I suspect that the liberal Jews would be more than willing partners, to attack the right-wing, radical section of their community. I think this is one area we need to cultivate more.

  65. Danish S. says:

    to attack the right-wing

    Why do we have to “attack” anybody?

    Though many Muslims (like many other Americans) are favoring Democrats this year doesn’t necessarily make them progressive. I don’t want to sound like an Obama spokesperson but they just want change.

    On the contrary, most Muslims are inclined to be social conservatives and one could argue even fiscal and (to some extent) classical conservatives as well. Most American voters in general have continued to be right of center.

  66. Amad says:

    Perfect example of why arguments that touch the nerve of well-anchored unacceptable behavior/biases, do indeed make a strong statement. The article that Adnan pointed out above does the same.

    From:
    http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i06/06a03801.htm

    To the Editor:

    I was delighted to receive my copy of Obsession: (the word complete with scary crescents and guns!) Radical Islam’s War Against the West. I look forward to the next installments: Obsession: Jewish War Against the Gentiles by Control of the Banking System and Obsession: The Negro’s Wars on White Women. It is disappointing to see The Chronicle servilely joining in this kind of fear-mongering and hate-making. It is most disappointing that The Chronicle of Higher Education acts inimically to that which it purports to chronicle.

    A. Kevin Reinhart
    Department of Religion
    Dartmouth College
    Hanover, N.H.

  67. Tamara says:

    I am white

    I am a Christian.

    I am personally socially conservative as well as a fiscal conservative.

    I am always outraged when another Christian…goes off the deep end and tries to convince a group of followers that he is Christ and leads them straight into death…ex…Jim Jones….Nothing can explain that level of demented action….by someone who said they believed. I cannot understand. I will never understand. I do not and cannot understand those boys at Coloumbine High School or the man at the church mentioned above. It shames us, hurts us, and we suffer grief as anyone….

    We Americans, white, black, red, yellow tan and brown… though we may be, cannot, and do not understand any child or man or woman spraying anyone in the face with pepper spray, be they Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Atheist…inside their place of worship or out. All crime is hate.

    I am better to have known God, than not….and I am far more fortunate because of His grace and mercy.

    There is a movement to stop all of us from worshiping our God.

    We are all under attack from within our own worlds, and our country, our peoples, and even inside our own faiths, sadly sometimes inside our families.

    I do not read the newspaper, too many lies. I do not watch TV much..local news only, too many lies. We in my family have dismissed movies and Hollywood is like..blah..there are very few things suitable for human consumption, of eyes or ears.

    Sometimes we still learn form the media.

    We have to even be careful what websites we land on.

    I can assure you, the majority of Americans know that every faith has its radicals, they shame us all…so the DVD goes in the trash!
    It is pure garbage.

    After any tragedy I have never found an answer…why? Why can be a deep well that has no bottom.

    Just walk on with your family and friends close to you, and know that many are of the same mind.

    I am glad to find out the little girl and mother are OK.

    I only have an associate degree and make less than 50K/y, you can consider me however you like. I have read your notes and thoughts here….and even here, some are more trusting, others have no trust for even the words of the leaders of your Mosque. Welcome to the family.

    Even in Kentucky….I had friends from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, Japan, China, England, India, …Now I live in South Florida..

    I think we all mostly, are doing a pretty good job of living as neighbors, and there is always room for improvement…but there will always be some that do not get it.

    Yes there is islamophobia, racism, and all that, but the media will try to blow it out of proportion when ever and where ever possible. Just like the guy who did the DVD, or the one who tries to connect this to the GOP or DEMS or Disneyland….it get ratings and sells, it is true sometimes but isolated and on the national news it is in your face baiting you anger for as many times as they can run it.

    Live well and Love One Another.

  68. bismillah. sorry, amad. looking way up the list of comments, i assume you are referring to Adnan Qureshi’s post of September 30th, 2008 at 3:43 pm. there are so many articles and comments, mashaAllah, that i rarely follow links which have little or no description/explanation.

  69. […] Jo and Muslim Matters have posts on whether vilification of Muslims in the media leads to incidents like the attack on a […]

  70. bismillah. how great is Islam? how much of a force for good is it in the world? witness that over 1400 years ago, the idolaters of Makkah undertook it themselves to “warn” every arab on his way to Makkah about the madman/magician/and-every-other-lie imaginable who awaited them.

    and they tried thus to poison the world against Muhammad, sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam, may prayers and peace be upon him. and they especially tried to frustrate the message of Islam which they hated because it required prayer to Allah alone without any partners.

    and they spent such efforts at a time when the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam could never have reached so many people on his own.

    and so, many people came to learn about Islam from the idol-worshippers, and then some of them became more curious, and then finally they became Muslims themselves. all of them.

    Allaho Akbar. Allah is Greater. and Allah is Greater than those who deny truth no matter what they do to assail His Message. if all the Creation were on one side, it could not tip the scale at all against Allah, not one whit. He is Supreme in majesty and in might.

    so consider now the DVDs. it almost makes me smile!

    how many Muslim groups have the wherewithal, much less the chutzpah, to distribute 28 million DVDs (and more to come!) as newspaper inserts? that’s right — none.

    it may be that Allah shows us through the efforts of the mushrikeen what we should have been doing ourselves. and it may simply be that the Decree of Allah does repeat itself when it comes to those who hate Islam. their hatred of Islam is so great that they froth at the mouth and cannot contain their venom.

    thus, i am filled with calm over the videos themselves. they can only lead astray whom Allah has not Guided, those whom our best efforts would never have persuaded. and whom He has Guided, no force on earth — not the anger of all those who hate Islam massed together, nor the missteps and half-measures of the Muslims — nothing will mislead them. okay, i will smile. :)

    what we should fear is the displeasure of Allah; so we should learn from what is happening, and craft the best responsive and proactive strategies we can. strategies for spreading the true message of Islam.

  71. Amad says:

    Cookies, great catch. Mainstream media is quiet YET AGAIN. What are they waiting for? Mass murders before it becomes news worthy??

  72. Amad says:

    Ok, I think we jumped on it too fast. Apparently, the guy was a member of the mosque

  73. Olivia says:

    There was a website I went to about the Dr. Afia Siddique case that was very simple. It had a generic letter that you could fill out and then when you click send it went directly to the email inboxes of congressman, Bush, the white house, etc. Is there any way we could something set up like for this incident? Where people can easily send in a letter without feeling overwhelmed by what to do or who to contact?

  74. Olivia says:

    By the way, did I read correctly that Irshad Manji is going to be in this video? *barf* Maybe Yasir Qadhi can confront her about that ;)

  75. Hidaya says:

    Olivia, can you post the link for Afiya Siddiqui’ letter? I didn’t come across it anywhere!

  76. Umm Reem says:

    Arab News, Vol. XXXIII No 309
    Sunday, October 5th, 2006

    US Papers ‘Obsession’ seen in negative light

    DVD critical of Muslims raises a firestorm

    Anick Jesdanun – AP

    NEW YORK: Newspapers that carried an advertising supplement in recent weeks containing a DVD titled “Obsession” critical of radical Muslim have faced complaints from readers and questions whether newspapers should offer a plaform to everyone willing to pay for distribution.

    Although a few papers refused to carry the DVD, about 70 including TheNew York Times distributed it on the grounds that rejecting it would violate the sponsor’s right to free speech. The decision generated letters, cancelations and even a protest.

    The Clarion Fund, a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to address “the most urgent threat of rdical Islam,” spent millions of dollars distributing the DVDs mostly in battleground election states. That targeting led to further outcry about the group’s motives. “This is definitely the most feedback that I’ve gotton to an ad, ” said Ted Vaden, public editor the The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It’s among the heaviest reaction I’ve gotton to anything. The great majority of the reaction was negative.” Newspapers generally insist on giving a platform to a variety of viewpoints, but readers who complained were largely critical.

    “I cannot believe that I was sent the hate-inflaming, fear-mondering video disk “Obsession” in my newspaper!” Margaret Lewis of Durham, North Carolina, wrote to The News & Observer. “What will you enclose next? KKK robes?”

    Kelly McBride, head of the ethics faculty at the journalism thinktank Poynter Institute, said papers generally reject ads only if they promote illegal activity or might incite violence. The “Obsession” DVD, at most, makes people angry.

  77. Umm Reem says:

    My sister sent this to me, it is a good effort..

    —-

    Please circulate and confirm
    (From Colorado Muslim Council)
    ISSUE: “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West”

    Recently, the nation has become aware of the impact of the
    distribution of this hate film to 28 million households via newspaper
    and by direct mail. This video distorts reality, spreading paranoia
    and fear mongering. As citizens of a nation that prides itself on its
    diversity, we are all concerned that such hate propaganda is finding
    its way into the homes of ordinary Americans. The movie presents a
    distorted image of the Muslim faith and the characters depicted in the
    video represent the views of individuals with corrupt understanding of
    Islam.

    It was unfortunate that such extremist propaganda targeting a whole
    faith, financed by invisible hands, was delivered by mainstream
    newspapers as advertising targeted at swing states in the presidential
    election. We cannot allow this prejudice-based speech to impact our
    nation and our national elections. The backers of “Obsession” have
    long spewed their hatred in other venues calling on “government
    authorities to direct special attention toward Muslims living in
    America, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them,
    monitoring their mosques, or infiltrating their organizations.”

    WE stand strongly against all acts bigotry and of hate rhetoric
    against anyone across race, ethnicity, religion and culture. We
    believe that the wide spread distribution of such as video as
    “Obsession” is a concerted malicious effort intended to hurt our
    families, our Muslim communities and our American society.

    We salute the newspapers who have not succumbed, taking an ethical
    stand by refusing to accept this as advertising and did not distribute
    the video. We call on other respectable newspapers to print a
    disclaimer to clarify that they do not endorse the claims made in the
    DVD.

    We encourage members of the media to expose the misrepresentations and
    outright falsehoods it presents. We also encourage investigative
    reporting on the funding sources of such a campaign. And we urge the
    leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties to condemn
    this despicable election ploy as anti-Democratic and anti-American.

    We call on US Senate candidate, Bob Schaffer, to distance himself from
    those who use “hate and fear” tactics to divide and spread suspicions
    among Colorado communities. We ask that Bob Schaffer condemn the Anti –
    Muslim TV advertisements being broadcasted to whip-up bigotry and
    scare citizens into voting for him.

    Sincerely,

    Coalition of Colorado Muslim Citizens-CCMC

    Colorado Muslim Council -CMC

    A CALL FOR ACTION

    What YOU Can Do?

    Decision 2008

    1) Come help distribute a statement flyer TODAY at 6pm to people
    attending the

    October 6, 2008 debate, Udal vs. Schaffer.

    Time: 6:00 pm. We will be asking them to denounce these Anti Muslim
    efforts otherwise forgoe Muslim Support.

    Place: in front of University of Denver , Newman Center (2344 East
    Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80208)
    – PLEASE CONFIRM IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP, Strength is in Numbers –
    Email barakat2@comcast.net or call 303-388-5058.

    2) Write, email, and call the following entities to express your
    displeasure at having unfettered circulation of hatred and religious
    bigotry. Ask US Senate Candidate, Bob Schaffer, to condemn anti-
    Muslim rhetoric as hate speech and as anti-American. Stress that this
    of type DVD(Obsession) targeting other cultural sectors, would surely
    not have been tolerated.

  78. anon says:

    Police are now saying that the can of pepper spray was found in side the mosque in another room. They are interviewing a 10 year old boy and his family who are members of the mosque

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/10/07/ddn100708mosquefolo.html

  79. Danish S. says:

    @anon

    Thanks for posting that latest update

  80. Dawud Israel says:

    Bismillah

    Haven’t been on MM in a while (you guys need more exciting posts!) but good to see there is a discussion and news updates going on here.

    In any case, we’re going to do something–CAIR and these others groups are playing their role, but more needs to be done and it’s just going to be us everyday brothers and sisters who will do just that!

    Join the facebook group so we can coordinate
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=30785779785&ref=ts

    Or send an email to endtheobsession@gmail.com

    If you are an AlMaghrib Ameer/ah or community leader then most definitely give a shout.
    Make dua.

  81. ilmsummitee says:

    Another crime at the Villa Park masjid…………………………..
    please read the CAIR email below.

    La Hawla wala qoowata ela billah.

    ——————————————————————————————————
    CAIR Asks FBI to Probe Vandalism at Chicago Mosque
    Broken windows, spilled flammable liquid most recent in series of incidents

    (WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/10/2008) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the FBI to investigate a recent incident of vandalism targeting a local mosque as a possible hate crime.

    Officials of the Islamic Foundation Mosque in Villa Park told CAIR that the facility was vandalized Thursday, which was the fourth such incident in less than two months. A mosque employee reportedly discovered two windows that were shattered and a five-gallon tank of flammable liquid that had been spilled in an area of the mosque’s school that is under construction.

    Villa Park police are investigating the crime, which appears to be a part of a series of suspected bias-motivated incidents targeting the mosque. Two weeks ago, mosque authorities found a Star of David in a section of the school that is undergoing expansion. The month before, anti-Islamic messages were spray-painted on the outer walls of the mosque. Two months ago, other windows were shattered. In the past, glass doors at the mosque’s entrance were shattered.

    “We call on law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, to determine whether this and other incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim hate,” said CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham. “We must all stand against intolerance and do what is necessary to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

    Abraham said similar incidents have targeted Muslim individuals and institutions nationwide. She said CAIR is also concerned that the level of anti-Muslim bias has been increased by the distribution of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession” to 28 million households in presidential election swing states nationwide.

  82. Amad says:

    Chris Rodda, original author of the dailykos, responds to the Dayton daily news, and also investigates the mysterious redirected links to scrubbed stories. I have also linked to the cache story below. See here.

  83. Abu Umar says:

    Returning to the theme of “Obsession” and Islamophobia, check out Obsession Gets Some Overdue Mainstream Attention by Jim Lobe and The Jewish Extremists Behind “Obsession” by Jeffery Goldberg.

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