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After 9/11, a shell-shocked but not yet totally manipulated press acted responsibly enough to report when hate crimes were committed against innocent Muslims.  Sadly, that is no longer the case.  

This past Friday, September 26, 300 worshipers were sprayed with a chemical irritant while celebrating Ramadan at The Muslim Center of Greater Dayton, sending many men, women and children to local hospitals. The crime is under investigation, and whether or not it turns out to one of hate is incidental if it is not immediately and widely repudiated in the media. Though reported on Saturday, September 27 in The Dayton Daily News, my local paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer, has not seen fit to write about this event which took place a mere 45 miles up the road.   Likewise, no one in the greater main stream media has seen the need to document what portends to be a chilling acceptance of home-grown terrorism, at least as long as the terrorism is directed towards Muslims.

Ohioans have been long been treated to a stream of Islam bashing, from the likes of Rod Parsley, Rick Santorum, Gary Bauer and countless others.  Often, the hate-filled screeds emanate from church pulpits, making them all the more sinister.  David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, an exclusionary Christian Nationalist group, begins his political statewide tour today in which he will no doubt preach the need for the elimination of "others" in his quest to realize his revisionist goal of a Christian nation.

Additionally, Ohioans, like others in swing states, have been recent recipients of a particularly heinous Muslim bashing DVD, Obsession.  Sent out as a "promo" they arrived as inserts in newspapers, including the vaunted New York Times, as well as arriving through the U.S. mail.  I received two.  Chris Rodda first reported on this yesterday in her excellent post,
Endorsed by "the chair of the counter-terrorism department of the U.S. Naval War College," . . . the DVD cover uses "the name and authority of an official U.S. military institution not only to validate an attack the religion of Islam, but to influence a political campaign,"  The denial of partisan intent by Clarion Fund, the distributor, is hardly credible seeing as the DVDs were passed out at both conventions and are appearing in the mailboxes in swing states just forty days before the election.  Clarion has gone to great lengths to hide the identities of their funders, though diligent researchers are rooting out their fundamentalist backing and it is not a pretty picture.

Never one to miss a chance to further the vilification of Islam, John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is also a player. According to Haim Beliak  "The DVD was packaged inside a book by David Brog  CUFI’s executive director and a Jew. The package also contained a letter by a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, endorsing Brog’s book and calling on Jews to accept an alliance with Christian Zionists. . . CUFI’s contact with Muslims is limited to harsh critics of Islam like Walid Shoebat– and that CUFI’s websitedisplays a link to the Obsession trailer."

Most Americans would shy away from further military involvement in places such as Iran.  Not those behind Obsession. As Hermann Goering said in April, 1946, "Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany.  . . .. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship . . . .  voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Obsession only serves to further insinuate a similar extremist neo-con agenda by manipulating fear, tribalism and hatred.  It has worked before and certainly can again.

There is hardly a puzzle here.  In this deftly managed, organized and far-reaching political smear, swift boating has reached an all-time and very dangerous low while the Fourth Estate chooses to once again, sit back and do nothing.

Originally posted to Save Ohio Now on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 10:09 AM PDT.

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