CNN reported today that voters in the swing states of Colorado, Florida and Ohio received in their local newspapers a few weeks ago a DVD called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” In the hour-long presentation, filmmaker Raphael Shore, an Israeli, makes charges about radical Islam that has angered Muslim and non-Muslim voters alike.

According to one viewer, via the CNN report:

“I was shocked at the content and horrified that this had been in my Sunday paper,” said Linsley, a 74-year-old Democrat, who watched about half of the video before throwing it in the trash.
“I have Muslim friends and respect Islam as a religion and felt that this was really hateful,” said Linsley.

The DVD, which contains “disturbing, sometimes violent images” is a ridiculous ploy:

  • to play on the ignorance and fear of those who think, or may be convinced to think, that Obama is a Muslim.
  • to create a sense of urgency around an attack on the U.S. by radical Islam, thus moving the focus from the economy (Obama’s strong suit) to national defense and by extension, foreign policy (McCain’s strength).
  • to pretend to be an opportunity to educate, when it’s methods are without doubt political.

Gregory Ross, a spokesman for the non-profit organization Shore created to “expose the threat of radical Islam,” was quoted by CNN as saying, “Our focus is to educate with our movies and raise awareness, not influence elections.”

Right. And oceans are yellow.

What’s obvious is that, yes, the threat by radical Islam, the threat of radical anything is real and needs to be addressed.

What’s wrong is that this DVD is only going to appeal to those with ingrained, sometimes xenophobic misconceptions about Muslims, Islam, the Qu’ran and everything and anything associated with the Middle East.

My parents live in Michigan, but incredibly close to Toledo, Ohio- a swing state where this DVD was circulated in the newspapers. My dad got a copy in his Toledo Blade when I was home for a wedding.

Interesting that this was only circulated in swing states.
Even more interesting that this film was released in 2006, but the nonprofit sent it out this close to the election day.

Full disclosure: I have not, nor plan to, watch “Obsession.” I fully support First Amendment rights, which includes all opinions in the ‘marketplace of ideas.’ But the marketing tactics, the attempt to create fear, the obvious political overtones?