Monday, March 01, 2010

"Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think" from Unity Productions Foundation, presentation at an Arlington VA church

On Sunday, February 28, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA hosted a (free) presentation of the film “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think”, directed by Robert Gardner, from Unity Productions Foundation, (link for this film is here), “Working for Peace through Media”. The 58 minute film will be shown on PBS soon.

The film presents the result of a Gallup poll taken of Muslims around the world in the months after 9/11. In some countries, like Saudi Arabia, only female pollsters could interview women.

In general, Muslims said that they disapproved of violence, but had an unfavorable impression of the United States but a favorable impression of Canada. The explanation is not American secular culture, but aggressive foreign policy and militarism, which they believe is directed a securing natural resources, especially oil. America is seen as supporting authoritarian Muslim governments such as the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

The film presented shariah law as a sort of protections from secular government, and it presented the issue of women wearing the hijab, which they say reduces the importance of what they look like and encourages the emphasis on the inner person.

The film presented the experience of 9/11 from the perspective of a Muslim family from Ohio, preparing to travel that day by car.

The film presented “militant Islam” which comprised about 7% of those polled, most of whom were “spectators” or “cheerleader” supporting a very small violent minority. Religious belief was seen as an excuse for violence; however terrorists from other religions have not been viewed as suggestive of basic religious ideology as has been the case publicly in the major media with Islam.

Speakers include Kenneth Pollack and Dalia Mogaheel, the latter at Goucher College north of Baltimore.

The DVD will include a brief discussion with Madeleine Albright.

After the film, the audience was separated into discussion groups. In one group, the point was made that well-to-do young men who become terrorists (like some of the 9/11 perpetrators) do so because, without their resources, they are kept from being politically effective in propagating their beliefs. The media presents their beliefs is predicated on an inflexible moral code that would require others to follow the same religious rules that they follow -- except that we know that they did not always follow them!
Unity Productions has a YouTube trailer her.

The group was giving complimentary sets of an annotated Koran to reviewers (I signed for one, which I will cover later in the book reviews column).

The tone of this film is the opposite of "Islam: What the West Needs to Know" (from Quixotic Media, directed by Gregory M. Davis and Bryan Daly, subtitle: “An Examination of Islam, violence, and the fate on the non-Islam world”, which was shown at Landmark theaters in 206)

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