(LOS ANGELES, CA, 5/15/2009) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) to cancel a Sunday screening of a film called "The Third Jihad" that the civil rights group says portrays Muslims as a "fifth column within the United States."
In a letter to SWC founder Rabbi Marvin Hier, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush wrote in part:
"This film, like its discredited predecessor 'Obsession,' seeks to portray American Muslims as a fifth column within the United States. It is the moral and ethical equivalent of the scurrilous 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion.' You, of all people, should know the negative impact such false and defamatory portrayals can have on a minority community.
SEE: Obsession with Hate
"Screening 'The Third Jihad' is akin to showing the Nazi-era 'Triumph of the Will,' which stereotyped Jews, or 'Birth of a Nation,' which vilified African-Americans...
"The film disingenuously claims it is only targeting "radical Islam," yet a twitter account of the Washington, D.C., screening on Wednesday night stated: '`Three Jihads' First, 7th century burst out of Arabia...Second, Turks push to gates of Vienna...Third, TODAY...The 1400-hundred year war' clash has been going on since the beginning of Islam.'
"These statements encompass the entirety of Islamic history and culture. Is that what the Wiesenthal Center believes we are fighting and have been fighting since the inception of Islam?...
"In a pluralistic society in which healthy community relations are a necessity, agenda-driven films such as this do little to diffuse confusion about religious minorities and educate the public in an honest and credible manner...
"As an institution that claims as its goal battling of hatred and bigotry across the world, I am disappointed to see the Wiesenthal Center engage in promoting hatred and bigotry against another minority - American Muslims..."
SEE: Letter to Simon Wiesenthal Center
Last year, CAIR-LA denounced the Wiesenthal Center for building a "Museum of Tolerance" in Jerusalem on what was once the largest Muslim cemetery in Palestine.
SEE: An Intolerable Spot for a Museum (Forward)