Many people do not generally seem to be able to view things from the broadest perspective but are
rather more narrowly focused. If this were not true, then I don’t believe they would make some of
the broad, sweeping and even absurd statements that they make nor would they accept them coming
from others. Examples: “Arab
-Moslem fanaticism and intransigence are the root causes to Middle
East turmoil” or “All I have seen is your religion attack” or “Th
is religion treats women as if they
were a slave” and even “Islam teaches that god is so far above man in every way that he is virtuallyunknowable”…ad nauseum. Some of these are statements of obvious zealots in their own religious
faith and who have been conditioned against listening to or accepting of Islam in the first place.One wonders however, if even they would be so open to such ill-conceived and incorrect ideas andso closed off from reality if not for: 1) contributions of negative and biased reporting 2) lack of education about Islam and Muslims 3) negative stereotyping of Muslims in books and films 4) littleactual contact with everyday practicing Muslims (which they are already discouraged from having).Finally, I must confess to being concerned
about a new film called “The Seige” from 20
CenturyFox starring Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington, set to open in theaters in the U.S. on November
6 that may only contribute to the problem. If you haven’t already heard, the basic story is that Arab
and Muslim Americans are rounded up into internment camps like the Japanese were after PearlHarbor because of their perceived threat to the security of the United States. Acts of violence areassociated with Islam in a more realistic and sinister manner than previous comic book-like drivel
like “True Lies” (also 20
Century Fox) and others in the past when Muslims were portrayed asblood-thirsty terrorists or just plain idiots. Its not just Saddam, Khomeini, Qaddafi, or some rich,bearded guy in a turban ho
led up in Afghanistan who hates America that you can’t trust...its the
Muslim right beside you!The media watch group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) voiced the Islamiccommunities concerns to director Ed Zwick and producer Linda Obst in an official meeting. Onlylimited success was achieved. CAIR has issued an alert to the American Muslim community andare calling for a proactive response such as handing out informational brochures about Islam tomoviegoers and inviting them to the local mosque.The question remains as to whether bringing attention to the film will just build its audience or willit instead be a golden opportunity to expose more people to true Islam? Will audiences be soshaken by the ideas planted in their minds by the film that going to a mosque or talking to a Muslimwill be the last thing they want to do? Will already irrational prejudices be fed and those so-inclined will feel incited to commit anti-Muslim hate crimes? Are people, Americans in particular,smarter than we t
hink and the film won’t prejudice them one way or the other and they will
perceive it all as harmless entertainment - a good action flick? Perhaps more people will beoffended that the U.S. government is portrayed as reactionary, short-sighted, against religiousfreedom and racist? Maybe it will be a box-office flop that Bruce and Denzel will wish they hadnever made. Will the question be answered as to why such a film would be made at this time?
I don’t know. I just can’t imagine any other religious group
being portrayed this way.Are we Muslims:
those who depopulated an entire continent and colonized others often not caring whether wewiped out the indigenous people there or not; those who dropped the atom bomb?
warring co-religionists of different denominations who have been at each other forgenerations and only this year signed a shaky peace?