Norwegian gunman Anders Breivik’s manifesto is littered with references and citations to key players in the American Islamophobia industry. Bloggers like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer and terror “experts” like Steven Emerson, Daniel Pipes and Walid Shoebat all appear to have played a role in influencing Breivik’s murderous rampage on Friday. But buried on page 762 of his 1,518-page manifesto is a list of sources Breivik recommended for “further study.” The list includes links to all ten parts of the Islamophobic documentary Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against The West.
The documentary made headlines in the U.S. after the Clarion Fund — the film’s producer and distributor — staged a masssive distribution of the film as inserts in swing state newspapers in September 2008 before the presidential election. The distribution hinged on the giveaway of 28 million DVDs of the film, costing nearly $19 million, and Chicago businessman Barre Seid paid for it.
The distribution was widely interpreted as an attempt to mobilize anti-Muslim sentiments before the election and to scare voters into going to the polls. The messages contained in the film summarize some of the core beliefs of “counterjihad” bloggers and pundits. The documentary, bolstered by a stable of right wing talking heads, makes the case that:
Today, we find ourselves confronted by a new enemy, also engaged in a violent struggle to transform our world. As we sleep in the comfort of our homes, a new evil rises against us. A new menace is threatening, with all the means at its disposal, to bow Western Civilization under the yoke of its values. That enemy is Radical Islam.
An abridged version of the film can be viewed here:
Obsession was widely promoted on right-wing and “counterjihad” blogs, and the documentary’s interviewees frequently appear as anti-Muslim panelists on cable news shows. Breivik’s manifesto cited seven of the film’s 17 interviewees: Steven Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, Caroline Glick, Salim Mansur, Daniel Pipes, Walid Shoebat, and Khaled Abu Toameh.
The Clarion Fund has since gone on to produce two additional films: The Third Jihad, which claims to outline a Muslim conspiracy to “weaken America from within;” and Iranium, offering a sinister portrayal of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as hellbent on unleashing nuclear weapons on Israel and the West. Iranium also makes the case for keeping “the military option” on the table as a means to delay or destroy Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions.
The right-wing and anti-Muslim pundits desperately trying to distance themselves from Breivik’s violence are claiming that they should not be held responsible if one disturbed individual misinterprets their message and engages in terrorism. But Obsession‘s message — which was repeated across the anti-Muslim punditry — is that Muslims are inspired to commit terrorism by a culture influenced by an Arab media and radical Imams. Now that the tables are turned, these same individuals are claiming no responsibility for seeming to influence the worst act of violence in Norway since World War II.