A New York-based organization has sent copies of a movie about Islamist extremism to more than 28 million houses and religious institutions in presidential election battleground states over the past several weeks.
The 60-minute documentary-style production, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," includes images of terrorist attacks from around the world, historic footage of Nazi rallies and modern-day scenes of Muslim children reciting poetry that celebrates suicide bombings.
The costs of producing and distributing the film, through mass mailings and newspaper inserts -- an effort that one Muslim advocacy group estimates at $50 million -- were paid by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit group that says it is seeking "to educate Americans about issues of national security to influence voters."
Members of several Muslim groups have condemned the film, saying that it is inflammatory and that it could incite violence against them.
"It's a mind-boggling massive campaign. When you send material like this almost exclusively to presidential swing states that sends a message that you are trying to influence the election," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It's inappropriate as a nonprofit for the Clarion Fund to do."
The council filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service last month, accusing the group of promoting the candidacy of Sen. John McCain over Sen. Barack Obama's. Federal election and tax laws prohibit nonprofit organizations from promoting specific candidates. (Full Story)