Monday, February 26, 2007

The New Muslim Controversy

I wrote previously about the new Discovery Channel "documentary" which claims to have found the bodies of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Jesus's son in a tomb in Jerusalem.

While the story is provocative, Christian protests about the film have been of the verbal sort. There hasn't been a call for the Discovery Channel not to show the film, or even requests for disclaimers about the film.

On the other hand, the film Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, a documentary that shows Muslims urging attacks on the United States and Europe, is causing more heat.

At Pace University in New York, administrators pressured the Jewish student organization Hillel to cancel a showing in November, arguing it could spur hate crimes against Muslim students. A Jewish group at the State University of New York at Stony Brook also canceled the film last semester.

The documentary has become the latest flashpoint in the bitter campus debate over the Middle East, not just because of its clips from Arab television rarely shown in the West, including scenes of suicide bombers being recruited and inducted, but also because of its pro-Israel distribution network.

The story then launches into a series of anti-Muslim incidents across the United States, but then gets back to the film, saying this:
While the film carries cautions at the beginning and end that it is only about Islamist extremists — and that most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror — Muslim students who have protested say they believe the documentary will still fuel prejudice.

“The movie was so well crafted and emotion manipulating that I felt myself thinking poorly of some aspects of Islam,” said Adam Osman, president of Stony Brook’s Muslim Students’ Association, who asked that it not be shown.

Perhaps Osman should think poorly of some aspects of Islam, particularly those advocating a caste system for women and non-Muslims, or passages of the Koran that seemingly advocate terrorism against "infidels."

It's one thing to provide provocative films that cause people to have to think critically about their religions. It is another to complain that such films shouldn't be shown because they are persuasive.