ZIONISTS and right-wing Christian evangelists appear to be exploiting America’s freedom of speech to fuel sedition and hate between the people of two great religions. In response, right-wing religious elements are manipulating Muslims’ righteous indignation by turning lawful protests into uncontrollable violence.
In the US, it is argued that inflammatory speech is protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution, but I know of at least eight people who were dragged through Los Angeles federal courts for 15 years, accused of distributing fewer than 50 copies of a news magazine. Such is the hypocrisy surrounding this issue.
It seems that the latest Islamophobic film, Innocence of Muslims, is part of a trend designed to turn the memories of 9/11 into a lasting conflict between Islam and the West. Viewed from a different angle, it is just one aspect of a calculated Zionist crusade to discredit anyone challenging Israel.
It wouldn’t be surprising if it emerges that producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is only a front for a pro-Israeli US group. Nakoula is a bankrupt felon who spent 21 months in jail and was fined more than half a million dollars. He lacked the financial resources to make the movie on his own and his early assertions that he collected millions from Jewish donors provide possible clues about the real culprits behind the film.
Unsubstantiated pro-Israel media spin, which suggested that Nakoula’s wife’s family in Egypt financed the film, is most likely a diversionary smokescreen to inflame sectarian strife in Egypt.
Israeli pundits have been trying to divide Egypt for 30 years. In 1982, the journal of the World Zionist Organisation published a treatise declaring that, “Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions is the political aim of Israel.”
In addition, the timing of the film’s release was undoubtedly aimed to coincide with the US presidential election campaign. It is surely more than just a coincidence that four years ago the Clarion Fund – a shadowy American, pro-Israel, non-profit, tax-exempt organisation – produced a similar anti-Muslim movie called Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. Seven weeks before the 2008 presidential election the Fund, along with the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), spent more than $17 million to distribute 28m DVDs in a major mail campaign, inserting copies in more than 100 newspapers and magazines in swing voter states.
The Clarion Fund was founded by two Israeli-Canadian brothers, movie producer Raphael Shore and Rabbi Ephraim Shore of the Aish Hatorah, another tax-exempt, pro-Israel organisation. EMET’s advisory board includes leading Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, Frank Gaffney and former Israeli ambassador Yoram Ettinger.
Perversely, while Christian evangelists are coalescing with pro-Israel lobbyists to mock the Prophet of Islam, Jewish settlers across the occupied Palestinian territories have been vilifying Jesus Christ in his native land.
Earlier this month, Jewish settlers, empowered financially by the same tax-exempt US organisations, attempted to set fire to a Christian church in Jerusalem after writing on the walls “Jesus is a monkey”.
It is critical to recognise that this latest repulsive movie is part of a growing Islamophobic industry, promoted and financed by one-issue, tax-exempt pro-Israel organisations.
The West must deal firmly with this irrational yet measured phenomenon intended to incite and cause harm. For their part, Muslims must be circumspect when rejecting hate-inspired provocations. Violence only plays into the hands of those attempting to divide followers of religions who share the same reverence for Jesus and God.
Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes frequently on Arab issues and is the author of Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. This article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.