I signed the following statement, along with dozens of Jewish, Christian and Muslim American leaders, that condemns a film released in order to incite hatred against Muslims across the United States as a way of shifting election votes. This is sadly reminiscent of what I wrote about yesterday, in Indian elections. Democracy’s soft underbelly is racism, populism and fascism. It is advantageous to discover people’s fears and build a voting base on that foundation. The only way forward is to unite against this and expose it. This is completely separate from an honest discussion between civilizations and religions when there are deep wounds, injuries and grievances to talk about. This is about the uses of hatred to garner votes.

Statement from American Religious Leaders in Response to Mass Distribution of ‘Obsession’
October 06, 2008

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.

© Marc Gopin