Blue NC: ‘Obsession’ movie blowback: Huge outpouring of reader revulsion

Blue NC (9/28/08)

‘Obsession’ movie blowback: Huge outpouring of reader revulsion

‘Obsession’ was produced by The Clarion Fund. Three of the founders of The Clarion Fund, which is responsible for this movie, are leaders or employees in an extremist group called Aish Hatorah that has been identified on Rick Ross’ Cult Watch website as a cult. For more information about it, who the group is and why it is accurate to call it a cult, go to and search for Aish Hatorah.

Ted Vaden, the public editor at the North Carolina News and Observer writes:
Should The News & Observer allow itself to be used as a vehicle for disseminating offensive speech against a religious faith?

No, was the resounding response from readers who objected to a DVD that was distributed in The N&O last weekend. The video, titled “Obsession,” portrays radical Islam as an organized global terrorism campaign aimed at Jews, Christians and America.

I have a problem with this particular entry into the free-speech marketplace, because we don’t know where the speech is coming from. The DVD package contained a name and address for the sponsor, The Clarion Fund of New York City. A Clarion Web site gives no information about its directors or its funding. It says the film was made possible by a large donor, but doesn’t identify who.

Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at UNC-CH, has researched the video and the Clarion Fund. He says the producer of the video is a Canadian native who now is a rabbi and Zionist leader in Israel. Distribution was aided by a Christian Zionist organization headed by Texas evangelist John Hagee, he said, and a Clarion Fund Web site recently published, then removed, an article that endorsed John McCain over Barack Obama for president.

Safi noted that the DVD was placed in newspapers only in key election swing states, suggesting it’s intended to scare voters into the McCain camp. “The whole premise of this film is that the West doesn’t know what radical Islam represents,” Safi said. “Fair enough. Tell us what you represent.” My calls to the Clarion Fund were not returned.


2 Responses

  1. hi. My full expose of the folks behind the Obsession DVD is now available:

    [for the PDF version]
    please spread the word!
    omid safi

  2. AFTER receiving the money to distribute the DVD, the papers boost circulation by covering the controversy. A win-win for the papers and a lose-lose for the public as contrived controversy distracts us from real problems.

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