HANANIA: American extremists use Islamic extremism to fuel anti-Muslim hate, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 9-17-08

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American extremists use Islamic extremism to fuel anti-Muslim hate
By Ray Hanania  —
The makers of a controversial DVD on Islamic extremism contend that they are not anti-Muslim. Yet, the majority of the people they interviewed in their highly publicized, well-funded documentary “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War against the West” include a who’s who of the most anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hatemongers in American political activism and journalism.

The documentary itself, made two years ago and re-released in this massive new publicity campaign, represents less a portrayal of the threat of Islam against Americans and more the highly funded networking of radical Muslim bashers who wrap their hate-mongering against Muslims by exploiting terrorist selective tragedies, such as that of Sept. 11, 2001.

With the financial backing of an unknown “not for profit” group based in New York called The Clarion Fund, more than 28 million DVDs were distributed through more than 70 major newspapers mainly in contested states where Republican Presidential candidate John McCain must win in order to defeat Democrat Barack Obama.

The 60-minute documentary purports to expose the threat to Americans by Radical Islam and is an abbreviated version of the full length DVD which can be purchased for $14.95 on the misleading web site of the producers.

Many who have watched the DVD, and a review of the trailer on the maker’s web site along with a review of the “experts” the filmmakers relies on expose the film as just another, albeit expensive, consider the film anti-Muslim hate-mongering.

Just look at the “experts” the documentary makers relied on. The list is a virtual who’s who of the most bigoted and hateful Muslim bashers in American society. Daniel Pipes. Steve Emerson. Caroline Glick.

It relies on many interviews with Muslims and Arabs who have transformed their hatred of Palestinian rights into a cottage industry pandering to pro-Israel hate-mongering.

They include Nonie Darwish. Brigitte Gabriel. And Walid Shoebat.

Whenever you put these seven names together in one room, you can be sure that topic number one will be a constant stream of anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab hatred driven in part by pro-Israel strategies and a desire to assist extremist Christian religion fanatics who back Republican candidate John McCain.

A major hate-mongering campaign like this could not take place with just millions of dollars in funds. The cost of the distribution includes the production of the DVDs, and the purchasing of advertising space, oftentimes in the highest circulation editions such as the more popular Sunday newspapers. The cost of this campaign of hate involving dozens of the nation’s largest newspapers is astronomical.

My guess though is that these newspapers gave the distributors deep discounts to make the campaign more affordable, a discount that reflects the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab mind set of the mainstream American news media.

But more than that, the campaign of hatred must have the backing of mainstream American newspapers.

Representatives of many of the newspapers interviewed argued they will not engage in censorship, yet they do engage in censorship routinely.

These same newspapers routinely reject pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian op-ed voices from their editorial pages, censor comments excessively critical of Israel and Israel’s radical Christian evangelical fanatics.

The fact is that many of these same newspapers have in the past rejected advertising from pro-Arab groups that have harshly criticized Israel. And it goes without saying that if an Arab group had produced a similarly hateful DVD on Israel that simply stayed true to the facts of the brutality of Israel’s occupation, not one of these newspapers would approve of the distribution at all.

The makers targeted newspapers in many swing election states including in Florida, Philadelphia, and Colorado. Among the newspapers that approved the distribution of the hate-driven DVD include in Florida alone the Miami Herald, the Sun Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post. Distribution also included the New York Times.

It is absolutely a fact that there is an extremist element in the Muslim community that has resorted to violence. But, there is also an equally hateful and extremist element in the Jewish community and in the Christian community who engage in hate-mongering and even violence targeting Muslims and Arabs and that fund Israel’s brutal occupation in the West Bank.

The Clarion Fund describes itself as “a non-profit, non-partisan organization, created in 2007, with the important mission of educating Americans about national security issues. Clarion Fund produces and distributes documentary films, builds web site and educational materials, and assists in a wide variety of campus initiatives and grassroots efforts.”

They maintain a web site called “Radical Islam.”

Although the group pretends to seek to distinguish between moderate and extremist Muslims and Arabs, their advocates consistently engage in Muslim and Arab bashing and fiercely defend Israel against all charges of human rights abuses, excessive violence and state terrorism, and of undermining Middle East peace.

There is a threat from extremist Muslims, just as there is a threat from extremist Christians and extremist Jews who also embrace violence.

It’s admirable to fight against all forms of extremism. It’s transparently fake when the fight only focuses on the extremism of one religious group to cover and defend the extremism of another.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist and radio talk show host in Chicago. He can be reached at www.theMediaOasis.com or by email at rayhanania@comcast.net.)

This post has already been read 102 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com