Statement from American Religious Leaders in Response to Mass Distribution of 'Obsession'

October 6, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Muslim Public Affairs Council

We, the undersigned religious leaders, representing a wide spectrum of theological beliefs and political persuasions, have come together in moral consensus to voice our deep concern over the recent distribution of a deeply divisive and anger-provoking DVD called "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" to residents across the United States.

The singular impact of this DVD is not to fight our common threat of terrorism, but to mischaracterize Islam in a way that de‐humanizes Muslims.

Unfortunately, 28 million copies of the DVD were distributed in 12 electoral "swing states" by 70 newspapers as a paid advertisement. This is a testament to how widely acceptable anti‐Muslim prejudice has become in our country. If these same publications had distributed a film portraying the Ku Klux Klan's views as common to all Christians, the outrage would have been immediate and overwhelming.

We do not pretend to know the goals of those who distributed this DVD. We do know, however, that the distribution and content of this DVD is absolutely inconsistent with what it means to be fair-minded Americans. Invoking fear and hatred in American voters is not the way to address the real problems of extremism and terrorism that our nation faces.

"Obsession" serves as a divisive political ploy that undermines the integrity of American religious pluralism. Indeed, it is the duty of every American to stand against those who would divide our common and cherished beliefs by inciting fear and furthering ignorant stereotypes.

We invite those who distributed this DVD to engage us in a conversation about what it means to be a believing American, and how our beliefs about how we treat each other, across deep differences, is the best way to confront and defeat extremism and terrorism.