Wednesday, September 17

Real Dangerous Obsession: Religious Fundamentalism or Politics of Fear

Thanks to hundreds of people who have found and commented on my blog entries about the Clarion Fund and the DVD they have sent to 28 million households, this has led to thinking about points that have been raised about the film.

Is there a danger in Muslim "radical extremism"? You bet. Any group that calls for the death of other people is a threat to be taken seriously. The same can be said for extremists of any religion (The KKK was, and presumably still is, a extreme "christian" group, as are the followers of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church). The inherent danger though is to lump all Muslims (or any religion)together, as happened in my community when a Muslim group tried to start-up a youth camp a couple of years ago and were treated as if they were trying to open an Al Qaeda training camp.

There is also a danger in declaring that the sky is falling which this documentary clearly wants us to believe is true. I grant you that there is often a fine line between being vigilant and being Chicken Little. Still, the goal of this group is to instill knee-knocking fear about radical extremists and affecting the upcoming election.

Then is it a political football that is being kicked around? Most assuredly. By targeting voters in key electoral areas, the Clarion Fund is, by proxy, pushing an agenda that is partisan. Republicans love surrogates to remind voters that they are the one's to trust when it comes to fighting terrorism (certainly polls reflect this belief). This group, though, is a special interest group--they are clearly concerned that if the US takes it's eyes off the Middle East that Israel will be imperiled, that Muslim extremism, like the so-called Domino Effect in Indochina during the post-WW II years, will roll from nation to nation in the Middle East.

The thing that most troubles me is that key folks in this group are foreign nationals. These folks are telling us to beware of other foreigners--curiouser and curiouser, don't you think? If interests outside the U.S. are allowed through fear tactics to influence the outcome of an election in this manner, what does it say about our "national security"?

I hope that the same newspapers that accepted this DVD/advertising supplement will use their resources to investigate this group and find out who's behind it and to what end. Failing to do this would, I'm afraid, say that they are more beholden to advertisers than to the public interest.

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