Islamophobia In The Elections

In the most recent issue of the London Review of Books, Adam Shatz has a short piece about “Obsession,” the infamous, anti-Islam DVD that has been distributed to millions of American homes through their Sunday newspaper:

In the last two weeks of September, 28 million copies of the film were enclosed as an advertising supplement in 74 newspapers, including the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. ‘The threat of Radical Islam is the most important issue facing us today,’ the sleeve announces. ‘It’s our responsibility to ensure we can make an informed vote in November.’ The Clarion Fund, the supplement’s sponsor, doesn’t explicitly endorse McCain, so as not to jeopardise its tax-exempt status, but the message is clear enough, and its circulation just happened to coincide with Obama’s leap in the polls.

The Clarion Fund is a front for neoconservative and Israeli pressure groups. It has an office, or at least an address, in Manhattan at Grace Corporate Park Executive Suites, which rents out ‘virtual office identity packages’ for $75 a month. Its website, clarionfund.org, provides neither a list of staff nor a board of directors, and the group still hasn’t disclosed where it gets its money, as required by the IRS. Who paid to make ‘Obsession’ isn’t clear – it cost $400,000.

Shatz’s detective work is interesting, and you can read the whole piece here. I don’t, however, think that the DVD will have any effect on swing voters. We are so awash in Islamophobia in the States that any voters likely to be swayed by yet another Muslims-equal-terrorists rant are likely to have already made up their mind by now (and it’s not for Obama, let’s face it.)

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