To the editor:
The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council (GKCIC) has recently become aware of the release and circulation of a DVD, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Twenty-eight million copies of this DVD, through paid advertisement by the Clarion Fund, have been distributed through more than 70 newspapers across America. While the DVD begins with a statement that this film is not about the majority of moderate peaceful Muslims, this message is quickly overshadowed by images of violence and hatred by Muslims against America. This “propaganda” approach to filmmaking leads to a deep misunderstanding of Islam.
The message of “Obsession” may be perceived as unjustly portraying all Muslims as extremists. However, the vast majority of people who practice Islam are not “radical extremists.” Muslims are devoted people of faith who practice charity and peace. The GKCIC denounces extremism and terrorism in all forms.
Our richly diverse nation was founded on the principle of “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “From Many, One.” As Americans of many faiths, the GKCIC honors our religious differences. We also honor and support free speech, another foundational principle of democracy. However, this does not include support of speech based in hatred that promotes stereotyping and bigotry. While “Obsession” specifically promotes fear and mistrust against Muslims, as a council we denounce messages of hatred against any faith group. The GKCIC stands with our Muslim friends and colleagues and with all who have experienced discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry.
The GKCIC, founded in 1989, brings together fifteen vital faith communities of the Kansas City area. The council meets on a monthly basis to work toward our vision of making Kansas City the most welcoming community for all people. As an alternative to “Obsession” we offer education about our faith groups through the GKCIC “Speaker’s Bureau.” Please contact the GKCIC at kcinterfaith.org for information on how to arrange for a speaker at your place of work, your school, or your place of worship.
Convener, The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council