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Monday, April 22, 2013

A film exploring radical Islam inside the U.S. to be featured at Myrtle Beach International Film Festival

For better or worse, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Myrtle Beach residents will be presented with a in-depth perspective on radical Islam inside the U.S.

I'm not an expert on this film or Islam, so I don't have a strong opinion about what it purports to show (I include a couple of reactions from those who have a strong opinion below), but I hope everyone remembers to keep things in perspective when such potentially-explosive films come our way.

"Jihad in America: The Grand Deception," will be in a featured time slot at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival at 2:30 p.m. on *April 27 at Carmike Cinema Broadway at the Beach.

It is a product of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit research group founded by journalist Steven Emerson in 1995 and is considered a comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups. 

The film "investigates the growing influence of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in America, groups that deceptively position themselves as apolitical religious groups or civil rights groups rather than what they are in reality: outposts of an extreme political movement that threatens American values by aiming to merge government with an extreme version of Islam," according to a release. "This film includes never-before-seen interviews with courageous Muslim leaders, former FBI agents and federal prosecutors, a prominent Hollywood director, journalists, even a top official of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood."

 

Emerson is a well-known investigative reporter who has received praise from such people as Richard Clarke - he called Emerson "the Paul Revere of terrorism" - who headed up counter-terrorism for the United States National Security Council during the George W. Bush era. Clarke testified before Congress in the aftermath of 9/11 and apologized to the American people, saying that the government failed.

He's also received criticism for allegedly making false claims. More recently, Emerson was criticized for something he said about the recent Boston Marathon bombings. He claimed on the "Hannity" Fox News Channel show that a Saudi national was a suspect in the bombing but was being deported home because the Saudi government demanded it. 

"You don’t arrest their citizens, you deport them because they don’t want them to be embarrassed and that’s the way we appease them," he said.

Since then, Homeland Security officials said that was false and we've learned that the men allegedly involved were Russian and the young Saudi man initially questioned is no longer considered to have been a part of the plot.

A couple reactions to the film:

The film promotes intolerance of Islam

From the piece:

Such prejudicial and intentional efforts to misrepresent Muslims and Islam have led Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a media watchdog group, to list Emerson as one of America's leading Islamophobes in its 2008 report "Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry and Misinformation." In addition, the Center for American Progress (CAP) highlights Emerson's misinformation campaign in its comprehensive 2011 report "Fear, Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America." CAP's report shows how Emerson and like-minded individuals operate within a discourse that has served to justify unconditional support for Israel by promoting intolerance of Islam and Muslims. Such efforts often receive the ideological and financial support of right-wing, pro-Israel groups.

Tracking Muslim Brotherhood's 'Grand Deception'

From the piece:

Emerson's film delves not only into spiritual leaders who spew anti-American ideas – it also documents leaders within mainstream Muslim groups, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, who have helped to finance terrorism.

Influence at many mainstream mosques and Muslim organizations, from the Islamic Circle of North America to the Muslim Students Association, is not necessarily a moderate one as is portrayed. These groups were described in a declassified Muslim Brotherhood memorandum as capable of helping teach Muslims "that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands ... so that ... God's religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions."

The MSA, in particular, has gotten better at masking some elements of radicalism, but audio unearthed by the Investigative Project on Terror presents a different picture.

*The post has been updated to correct for a date error.

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