Hateful New Year

January 7, 2009

Author: Gus Garcia-Roberts

Source: Miami New Times


Not long ago, Miami Herald readers were greeted with an unexpected insert in their Sunday editions: DVDs of a movie that offended many folks who popped it into their Toshibas. No, not Mr. Woodcock. The film was Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, a controversial documentary decried as anti-Islam propaganda, funded and distributed by shadowy pro-Israel group The Clarion Fund. The film, which features scenes of Muslim children being recruited for terror and makes comparisons to Nazism, didn't differentiate enough between mainstream believers of Islam and violent extremists, critics claimed.

Now members of the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamic advocacy group, are fighting back. They've spent $60,000 on bus ads in Miami-Dade and Broward bearing the slogan "Islam. Got Questions? Get Answers." The listed number — 800-662-Islam — is for a hotline where experts on the religion answer questions callers have about Islam. CAIR was already running similar campaigns in Chicago and New York; South Florida was chosen after the inflammatory documentary's wide distribution here.

"You could say it's a very humble response in regards to Obsession," says Altaf Ali, executive director of the South Florida chapter. "We thought there's a lot of misconceptions about Islam. We wanted to create an avenue for our fellow Americans to learn the truth about our religion."