OPPONENTS of the screening of a controversial documentary say an Imax screening of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West Monday and Tuesday night in Winnipeg may put Winnipeg Muslims in danger.
City police have been asked to increase their patrols around the Islamic school and mosques after the Imax screenings this week.
Once the film has been widely screened, Muslims in Winnipeg may become a target, said Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association Inc. of Canada. She has filed a formal complaint with Winnipeg police alleging the movie promotes hatred.
Last night, the documentary was shown to a diverse group of about 60 Christians, Muslims, Jews and others at Mondragon Bookstore and Coffeehouse. They discussed the film and how to respond to it being shown to the broader Winnipeg public.
“I would worry about its effect on people,” said Wayne Helgason, executive director of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg who attended the screening. “It certainly doesn’t promote tolerance,” he said.
“I’d give it one star with poisonous points,” he said. “I’d describe it as a disjointed chronology of hate statements and conclusions that come at you like a fire hose and for too long.”
The screening of the American-made film is being sponsored by the Winnipeg Zionist Initiative, Aish Winnipeg and the Asper Foundation.
The film includes interviews with policy analysts, terrorists and journalists and is peppered with images of bloody carnage from terror attacks and snippets of translated speeches from religious leaders and young children.
University of Manitoba professor Howard Davidson, a secular Jew, said he wonders why some Jewish groups want to show the film here. He said he’s concerned it’s anti-Muslim propaganda intended to stir up support for a war with Iran.
“Why are they showing the film? Are they trying to promote understanding?”