The investigation of the Federal Election Commission has been sought by a US Muslim advocacy group, about a nonprofit group that supposedly distributed a controversial DVD about Islam – ‘Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West’ - targeting nearly 28 million households in battleground election states. The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said this could be a ‘front’ for an Israel-based group, which stealthily aims at helping John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate.
The DVDs, which critics have termed as anti-Muslim propaganda, were inserted into more than 70 newspapers nationwide. This was paid for by a nonprofit group - the Clarion Fund - founded in 2006. The group, which has refused to identify its board members or its funding, focuses on ‘the most urgent threat of radical Islam’. In fact, the group is preparing to release another film, ‘Third Jihad’, but presently has no plans for mass distribution.
In its complaint, CAIR said the Clarion Fund financed the production, marketing and distribution of the DVDs, in what “many political analysts describe as ‘swing’ states in the upcoming presidential elections.”
The promoters of the DVD, however, denied having made any attempts to promote any particular presidential campaign. They also added that linking the DVD campaign to Jerusalem-based educational group, Aish HaTorah International, was incorrect, even though current and former employees of the group happen to be a part of the project.
Never picked up for traditional distribution, ‘Obsession’ primarily features scenes of Muslim children being urged to become suicide bombers, the 9/11 carnage, and interviews with critics of Islam. To validate the fact that the DVD is proof of a McCain bias, CAIR cites a story in the Patriot News of Harrisburg, which reported that a Clarion Fund Web site ran a pro-McCain article before it attracted notice and was taken down.
A CAIR spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, opines: “If you heighten the hysteria over national security or terrorism or do anything to make people more fearful, it’s clear they would trend toward McCain because that’s been his mantra throughout the campaign.”