Professor Khaleel Mohammed connected the dots
October 7, 2008
The recent exposing of the insertion of 28 million copies of the movie "Obsession" into the delivery of daily
U.S. newspapers prompted me to watch the movie. I had heard of it, but never watched it because, from the words of people
who had seen it, the piece was considered a bigoted film that had no merit as a scholarly or historical work. Three days ago,
I watched it and was not disappointed: it depicted all the same stereotypical anti-Muslim hatred that is in vogue today in
the U.S. The main difference between Obsession and the Geert Wilders’ film Fitna is the length. Wilders only put 17
minutes on film, where Obsession extends the bigoted diatribe to about 60 minutes.
I will give only a few lowlights of the movie. The "historical" proof shown could have been written by Walt
Disney. For one, we hear the commentator speaking of the "Arab media." There was film of a crowd of angry Muslims chanting
"Death to America." However, most people would not look at the small lettering at the top depicting the origin of the piece:
Iranian Television. Unless things have changed of which I am not aware, Iran is not an Arab country.
Then, a crowd burning a U.S. flag was shown, again with the commentator saying that jihadists were committing
the act. But, the crowd held up posters of Saddam Hussein. The scene was from an anti-U.S. rally in Iraq prior to the March
2003 invasion. Hardly an act of "jihadists."
We are shown a U.S. tank being blown up in Iraq and again told that it was the act of jihadists in their quest
to take over the world. Anyone with any knowledge of the area realizes that it was the Iraqi resistance that blew up the tank.
They destroyed the vehicle, not in the name of Allah, but in the quest of liberation from U.S. occupiers.
The film has so much footage of Nazi Germany that one would not be remiss in thinking it was a documentary
on World War II. The message was the Islam and the Nazi philosophy are one and the same. Then, the audience is told that England
placated the Nazis and today we should not do the same with Muslims. Martin Gilbert, a British historian who specializes in
pro-Israel writing, and who has been criticized by Israeli writers for denying facts, spoke of the U.S. and British public
saying, "They don’t connect the dots."
It get worse. Several times during the film, Brigitte Gabriel is quoted. The average person who watches the
film probably does not know who Gabriel is. She hails from Lebanon and, born a Christian, has lambasted Muslims from her country.
Here is a quote she made a couple of years ago:
The difference between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism. It’s
the difference between goodness and evil.
In the film, Gabriel stated:
It is the duty of all moderate Muslims to stand up and speak against the hate. If they don’t agree with
it, then let us hear your voices.
This is a common theme today among the U.S. population: Muslims must publicly condemn the actions of other
Muslims. How absurd. When the BTK killer was caught a couple of years ago, he confessed to dozens of murders. He was also
an assistant pastor at a Christian church. Should all Christians "stand up against the hate" and "let us hear your voices?"
How about the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building that killed hundreds? I have yet to hear a multitude of Christians
standing up and condemning the violence of a Christian.
Here’s a little more background on Ms. Gabriel. In 2003, she started the American Congress for Truth
(ACT). According to Wikipedia, "Act is a non profit organization that focuses on threats to the U.S., Israel and the West
from Islamic fundamentalism." On the group’s webpage, one of its goals is stated: "Fearlessly speak out in defense of
American, Israeli and Western civilization." This is ethnocentrism at its worst.
Obsession shows the staged toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and hails it as a victory for
freedom against Islamo-fascism. Evidently, the film-makers do not realize that Saddam was no ally of the radical fringes of
One item piqued my interest more than anything else. About halfway thought the film, Professor Khaleel Mohammed
of San Diego State University was interviewed. I know the professor and had the opportunity to listen to a wonderful presentation
he gave last year to the group of which I am president, the Atheist Coalition of San Diego. My first reaction was, "What is
he doing in the piece of trash?" His statement was short. He mentioned that the word "jihad" means "struggle." Quickly, the
commentator misused the professor’s words and began an illogical discussion about the word "struggle" and equated it
to Mein Kampf (My Struggle). Then he went on to show his perceived similarities between Nazi Germany and "Islamo-fascists."
I thought to myself, "Professor Mohammed was conned." I was right.
When I checked out information about his appearance in the movie, I found he had made an apology for his collaboration:
Sadly, it would seem that I have allowed myself to be used. I gave an interview to the makers of "Obsession"
wherein I explained the meaning of Jihad, and its misuse by extremists. I understood that the film would be used objectively,
focusing on fanatics who seek to spread violence. I am aware that there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that
says it is not about Islam in general, but only about extremist interpretations.
"But the material from some of the speakers gives the lie to the disclaimer: many of them are not experts,
or have used the mantle of academic qualifications to purvey hate. That their alarmist drivel should be mixed with my whittled
down interview proves that the intent of the film is not to educate, but to mislead. The free distribution of the film to
voters in particular districts shows the political chicanery that is the motive, and the secrecy about the financing of the
distribution only underlines the evil intent in circulating this vile piece of propaganda.
"Evidence seems to indicate the involvement of Aish ha-Torah in this dishonest enterprise. I find that particularly
distressing, because any Jewish organization ought to realize what the film seeks to do: they demonize an entire community
to the point where a government takes action to further beleaguer its citizens and resident aliens simply because of their
religious identity. This bigotry over religion and identity is precisely what caused the Shoah — and it is sad that
those who ought to have learned what hate can engender should seek to imitate Nazi propagandism.
"Yet — for all the nefarious intent of the distributors of the film — I must also accept culpability
for allowing myself to be so used. I still oppose many of the traditional interpretations of Islam—but that has nothing
to do with the film Obsession. I cannot stand by silently and allow my participation in such satanic demonization of innocents.
I apologize to my fellow Muslims for appearing in such a film. I apologize to my Jewish teachers and friends-- who have warned
me time and again about falling into such a situation—for not heeding their counsel. And I expect now that those who
support the film will make me their target. But again: I am no diplomat, and I love a good fight. I am obsessed with the truth.
Let’s get it on."
Professor Mohammed accurately predicted that he would become a target. Anti-Islamic websites are lambasting
him. They call him a liar and a coward. One even criticizes the way he spells his forename. This should be expected because
many of those who criticize him write at about a sixth-grade level.
Here’s what the website www.pointriderrepublican.typepad.com had to say:
Why is it that Muslims are always either outraged or playing the victim? I’ll tell you why. They are
manipulators who obviously have an agenda just as all manipulators do. And Khaleel Mohammed. Is also probably afraid of being
killed for taking part in "Obsession."
He can feel the fanatics breathing down his neck and fears for his life … Muslim assassins could be
lurking in the shadows waiting for him … he doesn’t want his head rolling down some dark alley.
The "manipulators" in this case are the producers of Obsession, not Khaleel Mohammed. Plus, the cowards are
the ones who write hate articles such as the one I quoted in the previous paragraphs, yet do not include their names.
Martin Gilbert was right about not connecting the dots. In this case, the connection, if conducted by people
of reason and logic, would produce an opposite result from the one that Gilbert espouses.
I have yet to see any Islamic person or group denigrate Khaleel Mohammed for his appearance in Obsession.
Yet, I have read hundreds of hateful responses from those who say they are warning the West of impending disaster. Professor
Mohammed has taken a brave stance against the real perpetrators of hate and he has correctly connected the dots.