Wake County residents in three ZIP codes will find a DVD about Islam bundled in their issues of The News & Observer today, as Muslim residents initiate a public relations effort to counteract a controversial DVD distributed in the paper in September.
Today's DVD,"The Fog is Lifting: Islam in Brief," was produced by an Egyptian nonprofit group intent on explaining Islam to non-Muslims. It offers an orthodox defense of Islamic precepts and theology without engaging in issues such as politics or terrorism.
"If the media keeps presenting a certain stereotype, people need to see the other side," said Mona Dakrouri, an Egyptian-American living in Cary, who was trained to speak to interfaith groups by the Bridges Foundation, which produced the DVD.
In September, The News & Observer, along with 70 other newspapers nationwide, accepted as paid advertising a DVD called "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West."
That DVD, which featured scenes of Muslim children being encouraged to become suicide bombers, interspersed with those of Nazi rallies, stirred anger among Muslims locally and across the nation.
Reaction was swift and overwhelmingly negative. Locally, members of Muslim groups met with The News & Observer's publisher and executive editor.
"Reaction was overwhelmingly negative" to the Obsession DVD?? I don't think so. Sure, lefties and Muslim groups complained about the Obsession DVD last fall, but I bet the majority of people -- the overwhelming majority -- thought nothing of it and didn't complain. The N&O reporter, Yonat Shimron, is giving way too much weight to a small group of whiners.
I have no complaint if a Muslim group wants to pay for the N&O to deliver their DVD; the N&O is treating this like any other paid ad. Most people will know the DVD is propaganda and won't be swayed by it -- it they watch it at all.
Today's distribution includes 20,000 copies of the DVD in an orange cardboard sleeve that reads, "A gift from your neighbor." The Raleigh chapter of the Muslim American Society took on the responsibility of distributing the DVD.
Dakrouri said the group paid The News & Observer $2,400 to bundle the DVD into the Saturday paper. It will go to ZIP codes 27606, 27607 and parts of 27511. Most of the DVD's contents are also available on at www.youtube.com, by typing in "The Fog is Lifting."
Via a comment at the N&O article, more info on the Muslim American Society here.
Hat tip: Stop the ACLU