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Who's Afraid of 'Obsession'? By: Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. and Alex Alexiev
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 16, 2008


The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) – an organization identified as a California-based Muslim Brotherhood front – convened a press conference today in Los Angeles with a senior representative of local law enforcement and members of other faiths.  The stated purpose is to unveil a new “united front” initiative called the “Coalition for Renewing American Democracy” which MPAC has apparently conjured up in order to inveigh against “Obsession,” a documentary film that powerfully, and authoritatively, dissects radical Islam’s war against the West.  Shortly after its 2005 premiere, the film won awards at three top international film festivals.

The problem for the Muslim Brotherhood is that millions of copies of “Obsession” have been distributed around the United States in recent weeks in national magazines, to several hundred college campuses, at both political conventions, and in local newspapers.  As a result, many millions of Americans have had an opportunity to be educated about the ambitions of those who adhere to the Islamic political and legal system known as “Shariah” – namely, the realization through “jihad” of a world-wide and brutally repressive Islamic theocracy.

“Obsession” utilizes actual footage of radical Islamist rallies and calls to violent jihad against America, along with interviews of Muslim and non-Muslim experts on radical Islamism. It captures unabashed exhortations to violence and murder aimed at Americans, Jews and other Westerners that are shocking in their savagery, even to those familiar with the nature of contemporary Islamofascism; they tend to leave an even more lasting impression on those that are not. 

The ‘Islamophobia’ Canard

MPAC’s efforts to suppress this prize-winning documentary is of a piece with the larger agenda of Islamists the world-over.  In the name of countering a concocted thought-crime they call “Islamophobia,” Brotherhood fronts, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Shariah authorities and Islamist agitation operations here and abroad are insisting that freedom of expression must not extend to expressions that “offend” Muslims.  As those making such demands are easily offended, they are striving to shut down public discourse and education about Shariah, its steady, if incremental, insinuation into Western societies and the implications of this phenomenon for all we hold dear.

The profound potential impact of “Obsession” has made it a special target of Islamist ire since its initial release two years ago.  In particular, MPAC has engaged in a veritable jihad on the film.  Since the Islamists are unable on the merits to attack the factual reality the documentary portrays, LA’s preeminent Brotherhood front and its non-Muslim dupes resort to decrying “Obsession” for being “deeply divisive and anger-provoking,” “invoking fear and hatred”  and “dehumanizing Muslims.”  Never mind that it is the inhumane behavior of Shariah-adherent Muslims toward those they brand as “infidels” or “apostates” – and even towards their own children – that evokes entirely justified, and often angry, responses from Western audiences. 

Among the non-Muslims who are appeared at today’s press conference to aid and abet the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s efforts in this regard were actor Mike Farrell, a well-known member of the Hollywood Left, and assorted apologists for Islamism drawn from an “Interfaith Alliance” convened by MPAC.

None of this would be worth another thought were it not for the appearance as well at the press conference of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, providing a high-level law enforcement endorsement to MPAC’s efforts to suppress this film.

This disturbing development is yet another demonstration of the American Islamists’ ability to hoodwink government officials and the public alike with pious talk of interfaith dialog and understanding, while promoting a radical agenda that aims at nothing short of the destruction of our secular and democratic values and the imposition of barbaric Shariah law in place of the Constitution. What makes this myopia, bordering on dereliction of duty, by public officials even more puzzling is the fact that the Islamists’ views and objectives are hardly hidden.  Even a perfunctory perusal of relevant open sources readily exposes the subversive nature of MPAC and the Islamist network of which it is a key leader.

A Primer on MPAC

Founded in 1986 under the name “Political Action Committee” as a spinoff from the Wahhabist Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC), the organization was retitled the Muslim Public Affairs Council two years later when it received its 501(c) 3 status from the Internal Revenue Service.  From the very beginning MPAC has been dominated by Maher and Hassan Hathout, two Egyptian siblings who appear to have immigrated to the United States for the purpose of promoting the Muslim Brotherhood’s radical ideology. Indeed, Hassan Hathout is reported by his admirers to have been a devoted disciple and companion of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna.

According to research performed by the Investigative Project, MPAC President Maher Hathout defended H. Rap Brown (a.k.a. “Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin”) at a dinner raising funds for
the convicted cop-killer
.  Speaking before the trial, Hathout declared: “There are two stories for this case. One story, told by our brother Imam Jamil Al-Amin; the other story is a different one, told by the police of Atlanta. It just happened that we believe the story of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, and we don't believe the story told by the
police of Atlanta.” 

Consistent with Brotherhood practice, Hathout has long pushed the U.S. government to support so-called Muslim “reformers” who are in fact extremists.  The publication Minaret reported as follows on a 1997 speech he gave at the State Department on emerging Islamic trends:  "In [Hathout’s] view the reformists, represented by leaders like Jamaluddin Afghani, Muhammad Abdu, Mohammad Iqbal, Hassan al-Banna and Maududi, Ghannoushi, Erbakan and Turabi, have advocated a pluralistic society that would work for peace and justice for all. They have, however, according to Dr. Hathout, been ignored, despite the fact that they represent the masses and speak their language." 

In fact, these are anything but reformers working for “peace and justice for all” – except as part of a violently imposed Islamist world order under Shariah.  For example, al-Banna was a fierce proponent of Jihad, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that has given rise to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical Sunni movements. Rashid Al Ghannoushi was the head of Tunisia's banned Islamic fundamentalist Al-Nahda Party and was convicted by a Tunisian court of responsibility for a bomb blast that blew the foot off a British tourist. Sayeed Abul ala Mawdudi is the founder of the virulently Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan.

Given such leadership, it should be no surprise that the Muslim Public Affairs Council has, since its founding, engaged in political activities and propaganda that serve Shariah and radical Islam.  Notwithstanding the organization’s efforts to present itself as “mainstream” and “moderate,” it has been tied not only to some of this country’s most prominent Islamists, including the Hathouts, Yahya Basha, Mahdy Bray and Salaam Marayati.  MPAC also works closely with other U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood fronts, such as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the American Muslim Council (AMC).  Most of these groups have been designated by the United States government as unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism-financing conspiracy.  Some of their leaders have been jailed in connection with terrorist activities.

The evidence of MPAC’s Islamist platform is not hard to find.  Any representatives of non-Muslim creeds or other, patriotic Americans contemplating an association with this organization should carefully consider whether they wish to be seen as endorsing – and legitimating – a group whose leaders have made the following sorts of statements:

·    The terrorist attack resulting in the death of 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut was not terrorism but a “military operation.”

·    Hezbollah is “fighting only for freedom” and its terrorist attacks on Israel are “legitimate resistance.”

·    American strikes at terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan after the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings were “an act of terrorism” and “illegal, immoral, unhuman, unacceptable, stupid and un-American.”

·    The way the American government treats Muslims is “almost identical” to the way it treated the interned Japanese during World War II.

·    Christianity is an “illness planning to attack us.”

·    The war on terror is “war on Islam.”

·    The establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine was a crime and to “recognize the legitimacy of that crime is a crime in itself…”

·    “The Jews killed themselves in the Holocaust,” because “Adolph Eichmann was himself a Jew.”

MPAC’s Other Agenda

Unfortunately, the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s efforts on behalf of the Islamists’ Shariah agenda is not confined to its media propaganda efforts and the spoken word.  From early on, the organization has pursued a strategy of political activism involving efforts to influence law enforcement agencies through phony cooperation gestures and Muslim ‘outreach’ programs.  Such programs included the MPAC-sponsored Multicultural Advisory Committee and the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress, initiatives that involved putative partnerships between MPAC and various California and federal law enforcement agencies to counter terrorism.

The willingness of homeland security and law enforcement organizations to cooperate with MPAC – including, notably, the legitimating presence of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca at today’s press conference – is all the more bizarre given the lengths to which MPAC has gone to sabotage U.S. government efforts to combat Islamic extremism and terrorism. These have included: vocal public opposition to U.S. designation of  Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad as terrorist organizations; unequivocal support for American Muslim leaders accused of terrorist activities, including defending, in addition to the aforementioned al-Amin, such convicted terrorists as Abdurrahman Alamoudi and Sami al Arian; and inveighing against the closure of Muslim charities shut down for financing terrorism.

Of no less interest for law enforcement authorities should be MPAC’s steadfast efforts over the years to derail essential counter-terrorism tools provided by the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996 and secret evidence legislation adopted before 9/11, and the Patriot Act adopted thereafter. Indeed, repealing or blocking the reenactment of the Patriot Act have been signature issues for MPAC from the inception of that legislation and remain key parts of its effort to emasculate anti-terrorism legislation. In the process, MPAC has routinely cultivated alliances with various radical Left and even Communist organizations that routinely hector and impede the police and others charged with homeland security.  No less disturbing from a law enforcement point of view should be MPAC policies that urge Muslims not to cooperate with “police, FBI, INS, or any other law enforcement or investigator” – except, that is, in order to report so-called “hate crimes” allegedly perpetrated against Muslims.

The Bottom Line

In the face of such incontrovertible evidence of the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s subversive agenda, the group’s legitimation by law enforcement authorities is unconscionable and the public has the right to know the reasons for it.  The public fight MPAC and its friends have picked over the film “Obsession” should prompt such a clarifying discourse and the needed behavior modification on the part of law enforcement personnel and “interfaith” interlocutors. 

This contretemps is particularly timely insofar as the producers of Obsession have just begun viral Internet distribution of a thirty-minute version of their new film entitled, “The Third Jihad.”  The latest production delivers a message that MPAC and the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood will be even more anxious to suppress than that of “Obsession”:  Jihad is being waged not only through violent means but via seemingly innocuous, non-violent yet insidiously stealthy ones, as well. 

If we are to counteract the latter, stealth jihad as well as the aggressive kind, the American people will have to understand the grave threat they both pose – and learn how to defeat them.  These movies make a powerful contribution toward that end and – far from being silenced – they should be viewed by as many Americans and other freedom-loving peoples as possible, and at the earliest possible moment.


Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. and Alex Alexiev are the President and Vice President for Research, respectively, at the Center for Security Policy in Washington.


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