By Nick Schou
Orange County Weekly
As its name suggests, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in LA is supposed to promote the kind of cultural dialog that brings people together rather than pushes them apart. So it's more than a little bit odd that the center showed a movie last weekend that has been compared to the gold-standard of anti-Semitic propaganda: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The latter tome was supposedly written by the Jews who secretly want to take over the world. Actually it's pure fiction, but the book nonetheless helped pave the way for Russian pogroms in the 19th Century and the Nazi-era holocaust. The film in question, "The Third Jihad," was screened at the Museum of Tolerance last Sunday. Like the book before it, the film claims to provide evidence of a global plot of subversion, in this case a plot to subvert America by blood-thirsty terrorists posing as regular-guy American Muslims.
"The Third Jihad" begins with a disclaimer saying that most Muslims are okay folks, and that this movie only talks about the ones that want to kill all Americans. It was produced by a shadowy outfit called the Clarion Fund, which according to an Institute for Policy Studies report has ties to right-wing supporters of Israel who oppose all talks with the Palestinians. 28 million copies of a previous film by this outfit, Obsession: Radical Islam's War with the West, were distributed to voters in 14 swing states just before last November's presidential election, perhaps to inflame fears that Barack HUSSEIN Obama might be part of this purported Muslim takeover plot.
The supposed evidence for this plot against America is a secret "American Muslim Brotherhood Jihad Manifesto" that the film's producers claim was discovered and later released by the FBI in connection with its probe of the Holy Land foundation last year. Efforts by the Weekly to verify the existence, much less the text of that memo were inconclusive. Google "American Muslim Brotherhood" and "Jihad Manifesto" and all you get are links to stories about the "Third Jihad" movie.
On May 15, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Greater Los Angeles Area chapter, sent a letter asking the Simon Wiesenthal Center to call of its showing of the film. "As an institution that claims as its goal battling 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," Ayloush wrote.
The center wrote back saying that it wasn't going to cancel the film because it wants to promote discussion. For his part, Ayloush says there's a big difference between debating what American Muslims think about U.S. society and promoting the concept -- familiar to Jew-baiters throughout modern history -- that American Muslims want to take over the world.
"Claiming that American Muslims are part of some world-wide conspiracy to take over America is nothing short of concerted hateful fear mongering that intends to build animosity and even eventual violence against Muslims," he argues. "The Holocaust in Europe and the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda did not happen in a vacuum. They were preceded with such baseless hateful material that dehumanized the intended targeted community and were promoted by many enablers who falsely hid behind the claim of "generating discussion and sharing views."
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html