Leaving behind all concerns for social responsibility, producers at HBO are preparing to air the made for stereotyping movie "Path to Paradise". The air date for this hateful film is currently June 14. AMC and the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee have made efforts to offer productive suggestions, saying how the producers of "Paradise" could use this film to enhance tolerance. Unfortunately this effort was to no avail.
The film begins with footage of terrorists making explosives and firing weapons, while in the sound track we hear a voice spewing hatred accompanied by recitation of the Qur’an. From there "Path" follows the story of the men who perpetrated the World Trade Center bombing. From the opening scene to the final line, "Next time we will bring them both down," a reference to a follow-up attempt to destroy the Trade Center buildings, we are subjected to every anti-Islamic stereotype possible.
We do not want to question HBO’s statement that the film is based on facts derived FBI files and other sources. The problem is with the facts that were selected and more importantly with those that were omitted. In no way does the film attempt to show that these men are not representative of Muslims or the Islamic faith. In fact it leaves the viewer with ominous impression that "the Muslims are coming".
This film, and the image of Islam that it presents demands a full and vocal response from the American Muslim community and all those who share a love for religious tolerance. HBO, and all other film producers, must know that the public finds this kind of irresponsible film making totally unacceptable.
- If you receive HBO, cancel your subscription. Your dignity is more important than a few movies. Mention "Path to Paradise" as the reason you are pulling your subscription.
- Call or Fax HBO’s Consumer Affairs Department. Firmly, yet politely, tell them you find their casual treatment of such a sensitive matter insulting in the extreme. They can be called at (212)512-1208. Faxes should be sent to (212)512-5517.
- Make sure your local Imam has a copy of this fax, ask him to focus this Friday’s (June 13) Khutbah on the issue of stereotyping in the film industry and how your community can register a strong protest.
- If this film had been about a violent organization such as the Irish Republican Army or Jewish Defense League, would not the producers have made every effort to ensure that they are not representative of mainstream Catholics or Jews? Surely they would have.
- This film makes no attempt to portray the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of Muslims.
Our experience after the Oklahoma city bombing, when Muslims were blamed and attacked before any facts were obtained gives us a glimpse of the type of reaction this film can incite.