Sunday, December 03, 2006

Review of independent film on Radical Islam

[I have to run and catch a plane to Buenos Aires so I don't have time to post my own reactions to the article and interview, but I'll try to add my comments when I get to Argentina...]

The following are excerpts from an article by Christina Gallagher in the Johannesburg Saturday Star entitled 'Islamic fundamentalism gets REEL - An independent film analyses the hatred of fundamentalist Muslims for the West'. The film in question is 'Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West', and Saturday Star's interview with the maker of the film is also quoted in this blog post. Most interesting, I believe, is Kopping's perceptions of the role that should be taken by the international liberal media in the conflict between radical Islam and the rest of the world (including the non-radical Muslim world).

from the article:

"The most disturbing parts of the movie is the footage of how Muslim children are being indoctrinated by radical Islamic rhetoric to feel hatred. On Abu Dhabi Television, a sweet-faced girl from Bahrain says unemotionally: 'I hope Bush dies in flames, and I want to go to Ariel Sharon and kill him with a gun and stab him with a sword [she tucks her hair behind her ears and adds] because of the poor Palestinians.' Obsession also sets forth compelling evidence about the connection between Islamic fundamentalism and Nazism - specifically ,the use of similar propaganda." [, scroll down until you see the link containing the word Hitler]

from Saturday Star's [SS] interview with Johannesburg-based film-maker Wayne Kopping [WK]:

"SS: How did you find such poignant clips?
WK: There are two organizations that record hundreds of hours of Arab television and scour the newspapers. They watch for incidents of propaganda and also moderation. Any time they find something that is overt or subtle propaganda, they take it and they translate it and those transcripts are available on the internet. It's been out there for years.

SS: Why do you think the mainstream public has not accessed this information?
WK: I just don't think people have been made aware of it. And even many of the news reporters living in the Arab world can't speak the language. They see some guy ranting and raving on TV and they don't know what he is saying. Some immam says 'Kill the Jews' or 'Kill the Americans' on some religions programme and that isn't a news story to them."


"SS: In the film you say that after the September 11 attacks, the Americans were asking 'What did we do to them to provoke such action?' For the Islamic extremists, is it simply a hate against everything that is Western or is it more about a hatred of a belief system that is inherent in people?
WK: First of all, it must be said that American and UK foreign policy is not necessarily the greatest. They have caused pain in the Middle East and the Arab world. As far as the hatred of the West, they don't hate our foreign policy. I am talking about the radical Muslims who see the world according to the literal translation of the Qur'an. You have to see it from their point of view. Islam means 'submission'. We [the West] don't submit to Allah. Who the hell are we to turn around to the Almighty God and say 'We reject your laws'? That is an insult of the highest order. It is their religious mandate to correct that. We are the ultimate sinners and insulters of Allah. So when they hate the West it is not because of something we have done but because of who we are. "


"SS: What do you think is needed in order of there to be some type of change?
WK: What it will take to tip it is when we realize that majority of the Muslim population does not want to live under or be associated with these regimes. We must find a way for them to determine their own future and help them fight this war. I really believe that Islam as a religion is compatible with democracy as long as they don't interpret it in the way that the radicals do, which is the hardline, literal interpretation. What the liberal media should focus on is broadcasting those moderate voices in the world and help to support them. It is all going to come down to an enormous body of Muslims who are going to choose on way or the other. Do they feel that West is the greates threat to their religion? Or do the believe that the religions leaders are the greatest threat to their religion?"

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