Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated an article about the collaboration of the film director Barrie Osborne and Yusuf Al Qaradawi. VH notes:
Amanda Kluveld often writes excellent and very interesting columns that are published in the left-wing newspaper De Volkskrant. There must be many readers biting off their nails once a week…
And the translated article, published in De Volkskrant on November 6:
Islam has a handy strategy
By Amanda Kluveld
There is no reason for our culture to adapt to the demands of Islam.
The destruction of the film Muhammad, Messenger of Allah (1976) by the Syrian-American director Moustapha Akkad: That was one of the demands made by the twelve members of the African-American Hanafi Muslim sect, who in 1977 occupied three buildings in Washington DC, took 149 people hostage and murdered two people, a radio reporter and a guard.
The hostage takers threatened to blow up the three occupied buildings with everyone in it, when the film — which was released in the U.S. as The Message — could not be banned. The film was blasphemous. Why? Because the Prophet Muhammad was played by Anthony Quinn. Or at least, that was what the hostage takers thought. But they were wrong about that, as was often the case with Muslims in those days.
During the making of the film it had been rumored that Muhammad would be played by Peter O’Toole or Charlton Heston. This while Akkad, himself a Muslim, had appropriately chosen not to bring Muhammad, his wives, his daughters, and his sons, into view. The voice of Muhammad would also not be heard. The story was told through the adventures of Hamza, the uncle of Muhammad, played by Quinn.
When Akkad noticed that there were Muslim extremists who believed that Muhammad would be played by an actor, he involved a number of Muslim clerics in his project as advisers. The advisers were unable to agree with Akkad and ceased cooperating. The Moroccan government withdrew its permission to film in Morocco. Akkad was saved by Colonel Ghadaffi, who sponsored the film and allowed it to be filmed in Libya.
What sort of tips would Akkad have for Barrie Osborne, the producer involved in successful film projects as The Matrix and Lord of the Rings, and who is now is going to make a film about the life of Muhammad? We cannot ask Akkad. He died together with his daughter Rima in the terrorist bombings of November 11, 2005 at the Hyatt Hotel in Amman. Tragic.
The project he was working on before his death was a film about the history of Islamic civilization and science in Andalusia. He wanted to show that Islam has given a lot to the world and is not similar to terrorism.
Osborne wants to make a film about Muhammad to educate the public about the true meaning of Islam and the humanity of the Prophet. In his own words, he has an international epic production in mind that aims to bridge cultures. Thus a film as a bridge-builder. Who does that make me think of? The former bridge-builder of Rotterdam, Tariq Ramadan.
Is this simply an association that comes to mind from a personal preoccupation with the controversial and fired Muslim preacher? Not quite. Earlier on he had claimed that Hitler had put the Jews in their place and that Allah would now do it again.
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As with the support for the bridge-builder Ramadan, the support for bridge-builder Osborne comes from Qatar. Osborne’s film is made financially possible through 150 million U.S. dollars supplied by the production company Alnoor Holdings in Qatar. Alnoor Holdings has hired the Islamic preacher admired by Ramadan, Yusuf Al Qaradawi, a follower of Hassan al Banna, Ramadan’s grandfather and founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Why? To oversee all aspects of the film.
That is interesting. Osborne’s film is financed by an organization that immediately involves an anti-Semitic hate preacher in the project. Because that is what Al Qaradawi is. In a sermon on Al Jazeera, at the beginning of this year, he called Jews treacherous aggressors, cunning, wasteful, arrogant, and disseminators of tyranny and corruption. He prayed for the destruction of the Jews. Al Qaradawi views suicide attacks as an appropriate weapon against Israel and Israeli targets anywhere in the world. He also finds the killing of homosexuals an appropriate punishment.
What has come over Osborne? In accordance with the Islamic rule that Muhammad may not be shown, he chooses to make a film in which Muhammad is not shown. Why does he do that? To my knowledge he is not a Muslim. Why then would he follow the rules of a belief that he does not adhere to?
He does so because he does not want riots, but does want the money to make a film. In this way Osborne indeed shows what true Islam is: totalitarian. And, moreover, he shows that we in the West can hardly cope with the Islam’s strategy to destroy our culture, values and freedoms. That strategy is for us to do that ourselves.
Because nobody is forcing Osborne to make a film about the life of Muhammad without Muhammad being seen in it. Nobody is forcing him to make a film that meets the requirements of an anti-Semite, a promoter of suicide attacks, and a hater of homosexuals.
But he does it anyway. Nobody forced him to make a film which will not make Muslims angry. He does it anyway. That is the way it also is in the U.S. and Europe. Nobody forces Oxford to accept money from Qatar to finance a Chair for an Islamic preacher. Yet Oxford does it. There is no reason even to believe that there is anything nice to be found in Islam.
There is no reason to adapt our culture to the demands of Islam, to surrender freedom or to put it into question because of Islam. There is no reason to characterize criticism of Islam as Islamophobia or racism. There is no reason to betray our own culture and civilization, as Osborne does. And still we do it. There should be a film made about that.