2 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 28 minutes
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This short documentary – which is produced by Alternate Focus, a nonprofit that promotes “an alternative view of Middle East issues” – focuses on a 2010 controversy involving an effort by the Muslim residents of Temecula, California, to build a mosque. According to the film, opposition to the mosque was driven by a Tea Party-inspired wave of anti-Muslim protestors.

The incident is used as a foundation for a wider discussion of U.S. and European backlash against Islam, and the film includes a fairly lengthy interview with Swiss parliamentarian Andreas Gross about his country’s 2009 referendum to ban the construction of minarets on any Islamic house of worship. There is also a considerable amount of input from Rami El-Amine, editor of Left Turn Magazine, on what he considers to be the roots of Islamophobia.

The film offers a knee-jerk reaction against obvious right-wing media targets including Glenn Beck (whose name is misspelled in this film) and Bill O’Reilly, and there are repetitive reminders that U.S. law guarantees freedom of religion without exceptions to particular faiths.

However, the film never hosts its own interviews with any of the mosque’s opponents, and several points raised by those opposed to the mosque – including questions on Islam’s view of women and the advocacy by some Islamic leaders of jihads against other faiths – are ignored. But even if questions are not answered, at least a conversation is sparked.

Posted on October 13, 2012 in Reviews by

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