Last night we attended a private screening of a film released within the last week or so. This film is a compelling statement of the dangers of the continued threat of domestic terrorism. The name of the film is "The Third Jihad" and the sponsor of the screening was a local chapter of ACT for America.
No. Do not roll your eyes and say well, there she goes off the cliff. This was not some anti-Muslim, burn them at the stake kind of event. The film is in documentary form and consists of many interviews with various experts in the knowledge of terrorism from radical Islamists.
The film was made by, and narrated by, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser - a devout Muslim. Remember all the cries from Americans after the attacks of 9/11/01 for voices from moderate Muslims to condemn the radical Islamists? Dr. Jasser was one of those angry that none came forward. So, he became active through an organization he formed - American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) in his city in the Phoenix valley. He is a practicing physician and after forming his group of Muslim professionals in the area, AIFD formally launched in March, 2003. The mission of the group is to "articulate the fact that in commentary and scholarship that many Muslims believe that they are able to practice their faith more freely and more Islamically (in practice and secular fashion which is most suited to preserve one's faith) in America than in any other place in the world." That from the Web site.
Continuing, "AIFD seeks to make a small contribution to the body of thought which articulates an understanding of Islam which separates religion and state and is in complete harmony with the U.S. Constitution and our citizenship pledge."
Remember the film banned by PBS, Islam v Islamists? Dr. Jasser was one of the moderate, anti-Islamist Muslims spotlighted. Some PBS affiliates did eventually pick it up for limited distribution.
Dr. Jasser founded the Children of Abraham with a leading local Rabbi in 2000 to promote Muslim-Jewish dialogue.
The Third Jihad can be found here. It is billed as "radical Islam's vision for America." It is an eye-opener, that cannot be disputed. Ray Kelly, NYC Police Commissioner; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Tom Ridge; Senator Joe Lieberman; former CIA director Jim Woolsey; Rudy Giuliani; Mark Steyn; Bernard Lewis are some of the voices in the film.
Bernard Lewis is a widely respected scholar and academic. At the end of the film he is asked for a couple of words of advice for the American people. "Wake up", he said.
The film uses Arab television footage. The film speaks to all aspects of the threat growing from within.
The sponsor of the film screening, ACT for America, was founded by Brigitte Gabriel. Ms. Gabriel is a frequent guest on radical Islam for television interviews. She is the author of "Because They Hate", a New York Times bestseller and her new book is "They Must Be Stopped". She doesn't pull any politically correct punches. That is understandable, given her own personal story.
Ms. Gabriel came to live in America in 1989. She is a Lebanese immigrant. She witnessed the country's fall to Muslim fundamentalism during the Lebanese Civil War. She is "a former news anchor for "World News", an Arabic evening news broadcast for Middle East Television seen throughout Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon". That from the Web site. When she immigrated to America in 1989, she "founded a television production, marketing and advertising agency. Her clients include Good Morning America, 20/20, The Today Show, Oprah, Dr. Phil, CNN and Fox News, just to name a few."
Brigitte Gabriel founded ACT for America, a non-profit dealing with the issues advocating education of millions about the threat of radical Islam to world peace and national security. She has been named one of the top 50 most prominent speakers in America.
The film is distributed online for now. This screening was private - by invitation only - due to security concerns. There were armed security guards wearing bullet proof vests at the room's entrance. Id's were checked and matched against the guest list. My inner Nancy Drew was intrigued as to what all the hubbub was about. I did, however, feel completely safe there.
This all did, though, tie in with an article I read yesterday morning. On The Times Online, Michael Theodoulou wrote about an Iranian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, arrested on charges of spying for Israel. He was nicknamed the "Blogfather" among Iran's blogging revolution. He was arrested in Tehran. He moved back to Iran just a few weeks ago from his last base of London. Before London, he lived in Canada for several years. He had a personal mission fulfilled by going to Israel in 2006, on a Canadian passport, "to show his 20,000 daily Iranian readers what Israel really looks like and how people live there." The trip was 'highly publicised' and he wanted to 'humanise' Iranians for Israelis', according to the piece.
He is 33 years old. "Until his recent move home, Mr. Derakhshan had returned only once to Iran since emigrating. Visiting to cover presidential elections in 2005, he was prevented from leaving the country for a week and interrogated by police. They told him that his blog was addressing too many taboo subjects and chided him for helping Iranians to skirt Internet censorship. He was allowed to leave after being forced to sign an apology."
It was an interesting evening. The film is good. Allow yourself the opportunity to watch it.