Will Bunch: There's been a huge debate within the newspaper world -- and beyond -- about a fiery DVD targeting Islamic extremism called "Obsession"
September 28, 2008

Will Bunch:

There's been a huge debate within the newspaper world -- and beyond -- about a fiery DVD targeting Islamic extremism called "Obsession" that over the last couple of weeks has been packaged in newspaper ads and distributed to hundreds of thousands of readers, especially in swing states. (The Philadelphia Inquirer was one of those papers.) Proponents say it's an honest portrayal of anti-American jihadism, while critics said the video would stir up hatred toward decent God-fearing Muslims, not just those involved in or supporting terrorism. Some wonder if it's all just a big ploy to help John McCain and the GOP, who want to focus the campaign on the threat of Islamic extremists. [..]

There's no more key battleground state in America than Ohio -- and sure enough thousands were delivered there on Monday in a number of newspapers, including the Dayton Daily News, which is in a hotly contested corner of the Buckeye State.

Four days later, this happened as Muslims in Dayton attempted to worship:

DAYTON - Baboucarr Njie was preparing for his prayer session Friday night, Sept. 26, when he heard children in the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton coughing. Soon, Njie himself was overcome with fits of coughing and, like the rest of those in the building, headed for the doors.

"I would stay outside for a minute, then go back in, there were a lot of kids," Njie said. "My throat is still itchy, I need to get some milk."

Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.

Someone "sprayed an irritant into the mosque," Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.

Many in Dayton are wondering if the mass distribution of "Obsession" has anything to do with this. It's unclear whether or not this was in the works before or after the attack on the mosque, but religious leaders were meeting in Dayton yesterday to talk about the DVD:

The Rev. Gary Percesepe, executive director of Greater Dayton Christian Connections, characterized the DVD as "fanning the flames of fear and prejudice against Muslims, with the potential to inspire hate crimes."

I've said that I have some practicing Muslims in my family (as well as Jews, Catholics, evangelical Christians and atheists, we're one big mixed-faith family). This kind of dehumanizing of people sickens me. And you see the result: blind acts of violence on innocent victims. And yet I'm sure that person feels superior to the "terrorists" he hates, rather than recognizing he has become one of them.

Jon Perr has more examples of the GOP getting their hate on.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.