Screening of Islam vs. Islamists [and vs. PBS] at the Writers Guild Theater in Los Angeles
Where on Earth are the moderate Muslims? Thanks to PBS, they’re not on public television.
-Deroy Murdock, National Review
Wednesday, I happened to catch Dennis Prager mention a free screening of Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, Thursday evening. I emailed in for tickets, and within moments, my name was added to a shrinking list.
I must say, my schedule has been packed (hence, the light blogging and blog-visits) and this opportunity coming up was throwing a monkey wrench into the tire of my already tired schedule. I almost talked myself out of going, being weary and being unsuccessful in finding a last minute friend (regardless of political affiliation, although I did check in with the conservative choir first) who would be free to attend.
My Thursday had one thing after another pretty much overlapping. I arrived at work late and left early. As it turned out, leaving work early wasn't necessary, as I arrived at theater in under 15 minutes (they even had free parking!).
The film focuses on the lives of four Muslim 'moderates': Naser Khader, a Danish lawmaker; Mohamed Sifaoui, a French journalist; Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, an American physician; and Tariq Fatah, a Toronto-based TV host [looks like a blogger as well- check it out!]. All four are portrayed as valiant protagonists working against the influence of extremist imams and terrorists who are trying to hijack Islam for their own purposes. Jasser explains, "I wouldn't be taking this time away from my family and my profession…unless I felt that I was trying to struggle for the soul of my faith."Dr. Jasser, Frank Gaffney, and Martyn Burke gave a Q & A right after the airing, which I managed to record with my digital camera (at one point, I tried to get a picture with my phone camera in one hand, digital camera on movie mode still recording in the other). Their message and the message of their film is an important one. A message that, most of all, needs to be heard in the Arab world to counter the propaganda of the puritanical extremists who are making the loudest noise today, and defining Islam, in the eyes of the world. It is pathetically funny that the clerics in the film characterize themselves as the moderate majority, and Muslims such as Jasser as the radical, dangerous extremists.
Separation of Mosque and State
The power and influence of the wahhabist and sulafist fundamentalists who want to impose Sharia Law upon the entire world (of interest in the film is Saudi money funneled into the building of mosques in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S. for the purposes of promoting wahhabism- basically indoctrinating our own citizens against our culture and way of life), who all but demand for a parallel court and society to be imposed upon Muslims in western societies, is quite shocking (and when those European societies allow it to occur- such as here, here, and here).
One of the problems that comes through in the film, is the marriage of politics and religion amongst the radical Islamists, who demand all should live by Sharia Law. It is the "perfect state"; after all,
“To make laws — only a god does that. And there is only one god in Islam, and that is Allah,” says Slimane Abderrahmane, an Algerian-Danish alumnus of al Qaeda’s terror camps and, later, Guantanamo. “So you’re saying, ‘I’m just like Allah.’ And you can’t do that.”The moderates in the film, such as Dr. Jasser, deplore how Islamic clerics are dictating how Muslims should feel on issues of foreign policy, rather than confining themselves to matters of personal relationship with God and His Prophet; with simply being a good human being.
Waging Jihad on the "Jihad"
In one part of the film, Tarek Fatah interviews an Imam, who tells him "we should wage jihad on jihad".
I still believe that part of that entails taking the language of legitimacy out of the mouths of the terrorists and calling them for what they are: hirabahists. Not Jihadists, which is how terrorists want to perceive themselves as being; just as they wish to convince fellow Muslims and the world at large that we non-Muslims are in a war against Islam.
If we are to win against the hirabah Islamists, we need to nurture an alliance with Muslim moderates; not alienation. Rather than attacking the flaws we see inherent in their religion, we should focus more on attacking the interpretation of that religion by radical, militant, fundamentalist, extremists engaged in hirabah against the world, including against Muslims who are not them. Courageous Muslims such as Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, at risk to his own life and the lives of his family, are trying to speak out against the radicals (who, ironically label Muslims like Jasser as radicalized), for, as a good Muslim, he is engaged in the Jihad of fighting for the soul of his religion.
It is utterly baffling to me, that PBS refuses to air this film. If nothing else, it encourages the very notion from the politically correct, multiculturalist left who insist that Islam is a religion of peace. I guess the fact that there are Muslims who wish to join the rest of the world in modernity do not qualify as "Muslim moderates" who speak for Islam.
For those who couldn't be there and for those who wish to hear and to help spread the message...
The following is just a 2 minute introductory audio by Martyn Burke, before the screening of the film:
I know this is long, at just over an hour; but, friends, it's well-worth the listen to:
See the Trailer at What the Crap?
Hugh Hewitt transcript of interview with Frank Gaffney Audio
Review at Libertas
Review at Pajamas Media
Excellent link by Andrew Sullivan to Rod Dreher's review. It's a good "food for thought" read.
Other noteworthy past blogposts on the matter:
Ace of Spades
Gates of Vienna
Little Green Footballs (elaborated and updated on by Frank Gaffney)
The Claremont Institute
The Hedgehog Blog
What you can do:
- Call Pat Harrison (president of CPB). 202-879-9600.
- Politely thank her for allowing this film to be made.
- Request that she clear the film for showing outside of PBS.
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces