News / Middle East

Anti-Islam Film Linked to 'Islamophobic Industry'

Experts say "Innocence of Muslims", the film that incited rioting in the Middle East, is the product of a well-financed vocal minority that has been fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Haris Tarin of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington says the movie, which mocks Islam's Prophet Muhammad, was produced by what he describes as a hate-mongering "industry" in the United States. "This industry that's developed here sees Islam as the problem," he said.

Tarin says it was created after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington 11 years ago.

Pamela Geller is a spokeswoman for Stop Islamization of America.  Websites like hers have flourished on the Internet and other media, according to a report last year by the Center for American Progress research organization.

At a religion newswriters conference last year, Faiz Shakir, co-author of the report titled "Fear Incorporated," presented his findings.

"Fear Incorporated is the small network of actors in this country who've been building an effort over the past decade to try to propagate baseless conspiracy theories that cast aspersions on all Muslims in America," he explained.

Shakir says they have received tens of millions of dollars in funding from anti-Islamic groups. "So it pays to be an anti-Muslim hater," he added.

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik's notes suggest he was inspired by anti-Islamic rhetoric from America.

"It's a transatlantic activity," said Jocelyne Cesari, a political scientist at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies here in Washington. "I have noticed the same topics, the same arguments, and the same figures actually circulating between Europe and the U.S."

Cesari cites Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who two years ago joined protests against the construction of a mosque near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center in New York.  She says Islamophobia is a European invention.

"And all this popular imagery of the prophet [Muhammad] as being an anti-Christ, the prophet as being a sexually obsessed person, all these kinds of things are not new.  You can read them even in medieval times," she noted.

Cesari warns that extremists on both sides are feeding off each others' negative stereotypes and warns that it could get a lot worse unless more moderate voices prevail.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

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Comments page of 2
by: Skeet Jensen from: Canada
September 18, 2012 12:05 PM
The alcohol merchants who are part of are cherished democracy have ruined the lives of millions along with misguided foreign policy which causes people from other parts of the world to hate America and everything it believes it stands for. Mohammad Ali is Americas Mohammad and I'm sure that fundamentalist Christians can't stand him to this day, because he refused to go to war and kill for their Manifest nation and when he dies then let the blasphemy begin.

by: Garry from: PA USA
September 17, 2012 6:54 PM
"You can read them even in medieval times," Why is that I wonder? To read about that prophets sexscpades even a thousand + years ago. Islam started in the 600s and the legends of murder and rape litter the land in those days as a fact.

by: Joe from: USA
September 17, 2012 3:52 PM
I am not Muslim and have no associations with Islam. I am american, however I am often perceived to be Muslim as a result of my appearance and my asian name. As a result I am not hired for jobs. I am mistreated and discriminated against often and stopped and searched often. I was detained once at the port of Dover UK (18 hours) and rejected from entering the uk on the basis of nothing. I was stopped and questioned in the ticket line at walt disney world's epcot center. I was asked what religion I practice. I was followed for the duration of that day. When I complained to the Disney company investors I was basically paid (in tickets) to be silent and not go to the press over what happened to me. I have had bomb sniffing NYPD dogs brought around me in the staten island ferry before and have been spied on in such places. It is horrible and as a result of that I no longer care about america and want to leave this horrific place forever. I have documentation of all of this and more. If I (not a muslim) am treated like this then I surely know how people who really are Muslim are treated. This is really bad and is going to end in a War of some sort. No people can endure in this modern era such absolute persecution. Hate doesn't solve anything.

by: darryl from: washington dc
September 17, 2012 1:41 PM
This article is trash and is unworthy of being published in VOA. It is biased to the point of outrage that i don't need to explain why.
In addition, the author's attempt to blast the film and critiques of islam as "islamophobic" is a vile attempt to silence opposition to Islam. The media can try all they want to prevent people from disagreeing and critiquing islam but as long as the First Amendment and Americans with guts exist, they will lose.

And by the way, where's all the protests and media blasting the constant burning of bibles and harassment Christians endure on a DAILY basis in those backward countries?

by: Maryann Larssen from: saluda, VA
September 17, 2012 12:51 PM
At 1st I was going 2 say it doesn't matter who paid 4 the film but if we will ever have peace in this world - it does matter. Whoever is behind the anti-Islam movement is doing his best to start WWIII..May God Bless Us All & send the devil back to hell....

by: emmanuel from: Ghana
September 17, 2012 8:33 AM
Some Muslims deliberately make movie to provoke their fellow Muslims and they stat fighting the Americans in the name of Religion. Yet they they preach Peace and say Asala malikum! I think the American should withdraw all their consulate and embassies from all Muslim Violence Countries. They should Stay in their homes and the Americans stay in their homes. Muslims-Americans got nothing to do with the violence because America is their home and they have no place to go.

by: Rationale
September 16, 2012 2:33 PM
It should be realized that this is just another sophisticated ploy of exploiting the masses to commit violence and at the same time an opportunity to direct the violence towards Western Governments. Linked to religious beliefs they are the catalyst of extreme violence and are international within days.

by: Syed Azaz from: NY
September 16, 2012 10:10 AM
Almost every church in America is Islamophobic, and I as a Muslim do not blame them. Islam interferes with their income, by providing support to public, free access to religion, teaching that repentance is between the person and God Almighty .... Lord of Jesus son of Mary .... no membership fee to public, teaching that help your close relatives before you donate to religious centers etc., etc.

So why the PARASITIC CHURCH that lives on money from devoured from public should not be ISLAMOPHOBIC?

by: musawi melake from: .
September 16, 2012 9:28 AM
Well, the report only speaks of funding received by anti-islamic groups, most probably from individuals or companies that sympathizes with these groups, but there's another side to the coin. It's been reported that the authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fund the building of mosques in various European cities, an the same reports say that the European authorities used a loop-holes, they can no prevent the building under democratic norms, to at least postpone these projects by siting that the countries that fund religious building in other countries should also allow other religious faiths to establish shrines in their. Since the Saudis and many other islamic state don't allow that, the buildings were stopped for a while. It's said that interested parties have channeled the funding in other clandestine ways to restart. So, while criticizing one side the other extream also needs to stop.

by: Dave from: Chicago
September 15, 2012 7:19 PM
The film clips are easy to see for what they are. It is a dubbed over porn movie, produced in Hollywood, the only question is who is behind this! It's intentions are evident.
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