The Fog Is Not Lifting: New DVD Whitewashes Islamism
Moreover, it is counterproductive for Muslim groups like the Bridges Foundation and so-called thought leaders like Professor Safi to support a proselytizing video of Salafist ideology in today's post-9/11 climate, where moderate Muslims and non-Muslims battle against the root of Islamist terror, the ideology of political Islam. Even Khalilah Sabra with the Islamists at the Muslim American Society thought it obvious that the DVD "doesn't address the real concerns people have about Islam." It leaves out any discussion whatsoever of political Islam (Islamism), terrorism, and the root cause of both: militant Islamism (radicalized political Islam).
What seems to be missing in the debate is a candid effort to separate spiritual Islam from political Islam, which was at the heart of the DVD Obsession. The spirituality within Islam demands that Muslims assume the responsibility of tackling the root cause of terror which is perpetrated in Islam's name. Any effort that fails to recognize and address the slippery slope that political Islam presents misses the mark and calls into question its intentions.
Consider the Bridges Foundation itself. Founded in Egypt, the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam as envisioned by its founders, Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, should the Bridges Foundation not be speaking out against the grand design of the Brotherhood?
This isn't likely when one considers its director, Fadel Soliman, who is also the main narrator in the DVD. Soliman is a former national chaplain of a Saudi-based charity named the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in Northern Virginia. According to the Washington Post, in May 2004, WAMY was shut down in a raid by the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in connection with a terrorism investigation. In addition, the U.S. branch of WAMY was founded in 1992 by Osama bin Laden's nephew, Abdullah bin Laden, whose connections with WAMY were suspect.
The Post notes, "An affidavit signed by Customs Senior Special Agent David Kane contends that a WAMY publication lists people who have attacked Israelis, including a man who killed 14 people by driving a bus off a cliff, as 'heroes from Palestine.'" Moreover, the same affidavit states that the document also claims that "Jews are humanity's enemies: they foment immorality in the world."
Given this background, the distribution of the DVD now takes on a whole different meaning. Despite its somewhat innocuous message to "educate and inform," the sources of the DVD, and more importantly producers' intentions, cannot be wholly discounted.
All of a sudden, one realizes that the fog has not lifted. In fact, it has gotten much thicker. The media did not do a thorough investigation into the ideology behind the DVD and its distributors with even a portion of the fervor it demonstrated with the fall release of the Obsession DVD. I guess the media is in the fog as well.