Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After "Obsession" DVD Hits Ohio
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 07:53:35 PM EST
On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West -- the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail -- were distributed by mail in Ohio, a "chemical irritant" was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain's supporters has led to -- Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.

I read the story as reported by the Dayton Daily News, but this was after I had received an email written by a friend of some of the victims of these American terrorists. The matter of fact news report in the Dayton paper didn't come close to conveying the horrific impact of this unthinkable act like the email I had just read, so I asked the email's author for permission to share what they had written. The author was with one of the families from the mosque -- a mother and two of the small children who were in the room that was gassed -- the day after the attack occurred.

"She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.

"The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn't stop sobbing.

"This didn't happen in some far away place -- but right here in Dayton, and to my friends. Many of the Iraqi refugees were praying together at the Mosque Friday evening. People that I know and love.

"I am hurt and angry. I tell her this is NOT America. She tells me this is not Heaven or Hell -- there are good and bad people everywhere.

"She tells me that her daughters slept with her last night, the little one in her arms and sobbing throughout the night. She tells me she is afraid, and will never return to the mosque, and I wonder what kind of country is this where people have to fear attending their place of worship?

"The children come into the room, and tell me they want to leave America and return to Syria, where they had fled to from Iraq. They say they like me, ... , and other American friends -- but they are too afraid and want to leave. Should a 6 and 7 year old even have to contemplate the safety of their living situation?

"Did the anti-Muslim video circulating in the area have something to do with this incident, or is that just a bizarre coincidence? Who attacks women and children?

"What am I supposed to say to them? My words can't keep them safe from what is nothing less than terrorism, American style. Isn't losing loved ones, their homes, jobs, possessions and homeland enough? Is there no place where they can be safe?

"She didn't want me to leave her tonight, but it was after midnight, and I needed to get home and write this to my friends. Tell me -- tell me -- what am I supposed to say to them?"

When acting as a representative of Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the 501(c)3 non-profit organization that I work for, I cannot engage in political activities. The distribution of Obsession, however, although a political campaign scheme, clearly crosses over into the mission of MRFF. So, I'm going to make two statements here -- one in my capacity as MRFF's Research Director, and another as an individual whose disgust at the vile campaign tactics of John McCain's supporters completely boiled over when I opened up the email about children being gassed.

My statement as MRFF's Research Director:

The presidential campaign edition of the Obsession DVD, currently being distributed by the Clarion Fund, carries the endorsement of the chair of the counter-terrorism department of the U.S. Naval War College, using the name and authority of an official U.S. military institution not only to validate an attack the religion of Islam, but to influence a political campaign. For these reasons, this endorsement has been included in MRFF's second lawsuit against the Department of Defense, which was filed on September 25 in the Federal District Court in Kansas.

My opinion as an individual and thoroughly appalled human being:

John McCain has a moral obligation to publicly censure the Clarion Fund, the organization that produced Obsession and is distributing the DVDs; to denounce the inflammatory, anti-Muslim message of Obsession; and to do everything in his power to stop any further campaign activities by his supporters that have the potential to incite violence.

When I first read this, my heart felt like it nearly stopped.  Of all the evil, twisted, SICK things they could do- in essence gassing babies and children because their parents follow a different religion!!!

If even halfway moderate people hear about this, it should create a tremendous backlash against this hate.  I wish that I could tell the innocent victims that they were attacked by evil people who are being mislead for political reasons- and that there are a lot of people in America who are horrified and totally opposed to what has been done.  Even more so, I wish I could comfort and help them.  This action is diametrically opposed to Christ!

We need to get the word out on this.  People need to hear about it!!!

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 09:33:37 PM EST


Thanks for bringing this news to us.  I haven't seen anything about it in the mainstream media.  

For five years I have been studying, and making films about, the church and the Nazis.  If all you have is a hammer, everything ends up looking like a nail: granted.  That given, the parallels between this incident and those of the early Nazi years are breathtaking.


by Steven D. Martin on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 09:53:51 PM EST

A glaring ommission in the sidebar is ADC, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.

by Jay Taber on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 10:47:53 PM EST

Oh gods...and this is pretty much exactly the sort of thing I was afraid of with that, too. :(  (And this hits hard--I have several friends and ex-co-workers, both Internet and otherwise, celebrating Ramadhan whom I worry about now.  For folks unaware--this would be roughly equivalent to one of the Holy Week services before Easter being similarly attacked. :()

by dogemperor on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 02:04:28 AM EST

You would think that this would make front-page news.  I've not found it ANYWHERE.

I've searched three local newspapers (Ledger, Tampa Tribune, St. Pete Times) and found nothing, as well as looked to the news feeds (AP primarily).

This I find scary.  What is going on here?  Why isn't it hitting the national news?  This smells of cover-up to me.

I know some Muslims on campus.  I'm going to ask if they've heard about this.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:33:46 AM EST

""We don't have to say who its directors are or give financial information until Nov. 6, 2008," said Clarion spokesperson Gregory Ross."

(Quote taken out of the St. Pete Times, who did not report on the Dayton gassing.)

They put out a video that stirs up American racism/bigotry and which helps support McCain and the Religious Right, and they don't have to say?

I noted that they "don't have to say" until November 6.  I find that rather suspicious.

Like it's a "throwaway organization"- just like some cops are thought to carry "throw-down" guns.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 10:33:36 AM EST

I don't "do" blogs as a general rule, except for a couple, so I don't know what's being said on the internet.

As far as the general public and the regular news services, this has been a non-story.  The people I've told about it are horrified.

I even contacted the school newspaper- nothing.

I haven't seen any of my Islamic colleagues on campus, so I don't know if they've heard anything.

I wonder what would have happened if it had been a church that had been gassed?  My guess is that we'd have heard it right away in the networks.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 07:44:38 AM EST

I asked a person I know who is practicing Muslim.  She hadn't heard about the Dayton incident.

It looks like the news is getting stopped at all points.

Curious.  VERY curious.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 07:24:40 PM EST

It will be interesting to see how ADL responds to the hate crimes induced by the Clarion Fund. While less inflammatory, ADL nevertheless has been known to engage in hyperbole themselves.

by Jay Taber on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 09:24:51 PM EST

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was aware of the attack and said that they are exploring the incident to see if it is indeed a hate crime.  I suspect CAIR ( will be releasing information as soon as it is available; this may be the only way to find out about it, since the press is completely missing this incredibly important story.

It's time for the Christians (and all loving people, but especially us Christians who don't have a good record toward Muslims) to grow a pair and get busy standing with our Muslim friends.  And if we don't have any Muslim friends, it's high time we made a few.


by Steven D. Martin on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 10:09:27 AM EST

Acts of domestic terrorism have always been preceded by hate campaigns. Hate entrepreneurs, like the Clarion Fund, are as guilty as the perps. Unfortunately, under US law, inciting terrorism against fellow citizens is protected speech. Maybe it's time to change that.

by Jay Taber on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 11:39:35 AM EST
inciting terrorism or any other act of violence is prosecutable, criminally or civilly under many statutes.

For example, the Southern Poverty Law Center has sued hate groups and hate group leaders for incitement to commit crimes.

Much depends on the details as to what constitutes constitutionally protected free speech and what constitutes incitement to criminal acts.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 11:57:36 AM EST

Does the SPLC know about this incident?

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 08:00:01 PM EST

Thanks, Frederick. Maybe because it is so rarely prosecuted it is effectively protected. Still, we might benefit from discussing expanded coverage and enforcement of such statutes. With so many hate entrepreneurs occupying seats of power in government, media and religious institutions, it won't be an easy battle in either the court of law or court of public opinion. We wouldn't want to be blind-sided by misguided guardians of free speech.

by Jay Taber on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 12:56:47 PM EST
...I gotta tell you this whole "hate speech" business makes me a bit nervous. First of all, the term itself strikes me as being very nebulous. Exactly what is "hate speech"? How do we define it?
Secondly, has there been a definite link established between the terrorists that gassed those kids and the movie "Obsession"? In other words, did watching that video specifically set them off? I guess we really won't know until they are caught and brought to justice.
Finally, the Constitution guarantees us freedom of speech. It doesn't have to be polite, civilized, or even coherent.
I look forward to exchanging ideas and viewpoints on this very crucial issue.

by Frank Frey on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 06:05:21 PM EST

Maybe John McCain can help "make them famous" and let us "know their names."

by Dubious on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 04:26:16 PM EST

I am ashamed that someone in our community could do something like this to fellow human beings. I pitched the DVD in the trash when I saw it in the paper.

by khughes1963 on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:05:05 PM EST

It is just astonishing what kind of money is spent on disinformation these days. Here it is on Youtube;


...yep 9/11. Go figure.

They could have saved a ton of money by just uploading it to Youtube.

by inlikeflint on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 12:00:51 AM EST

and readers of newspapers tend to be older and more regular voters than other segments of the population. People who may not be online but have DVD players.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 11:17:01 AM EST

or e-mail me I have a local situation for you to follow-up

by esbjorn on Sat Oct 04, 2008 at 07:18:52 AM EST

I am seriously concerned that we may be on the verge of finding out just how vile of a country we have really become.

by Neotheo on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 11:12:18 PM EST
Ask Native Americans.  We've been seeing this for generations.

For instance, we didn't get freedom of religion until 1979/1980.  In most areas (except possibly on reservations) it was against the law.  It took a federal statute to grant us something that the dominant people have had for a LONG time.

Until we got freedom of religion, it was against the law for my tribe (Lower Muskogee- Creek) TO EXIST AS INDIVIDUALS in the southeastern states.  No Indians allowed anywhere (but tolerated although against the law, if they would join churches and renounce their heritage).

History is full of examples of American abuse.  The situation this country faces in the Mideast is largely due to American politics in the region.  I can name a great many situations that US "involvement" has turned ugly.

The sad thing is that it's not the "ordinary citizen" to blame for most of the problems (except the racism bit- America IS severely racist and that to the individual level), but it is the elites- Big Business and the rich that have twisted something so full of promise (America) into something so wicked.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 10:48:01 AM EST

I am seriously concerned that we may be on the verge of finding out just how vile of a country we have really become.

by Neotheo on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 11:13:00 PM EST

I don't have the time to go googling on this- and I think we all would like an update.

I know I would.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 10:49:19 AM EST

Despite all the comments no one has offered any evidence of a connection (beyond a temporal one) between the DVD and the incident in Dayton. I would recommend finding a good logic book and paying close attention to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

And as far as arguing that the incident is an indication of how vile a country we might be, isn't that like arguing that Muslim countries are vile because there are some (a very, very small minority) terrorists there?  This seems to be a hasty generalization.

The fact that there were thousands of DVD's shipped out and, to date, there has been one incident involving two unnamed assailants who sprayed an unknown substance has left me somewhat underwhelmed regarding the hate activities of the Clarion Fund.  If that is their true intentions, then they are doing a pretty lousy job.

I guess I detest simplstic thinking and fear-mongering regardless of whether it is done by the "right" or the "left".

by Kevin on Tue Oct 07, 2008 at 07:35:47 AM EST

(1) Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

(2) It's been solidly demonstrated that there is a correlation between hate speech against a population and violence against that same population.   An even greater correlation exists between TOLERANCE of hate speech against a population and real violence against the same (from studies done on violence against homeless people- National Coalition for the Homeless, and other studies).

So, while there is a chance that the two incidents are unrelated, at the same time it is reasonable for an ordinary person to consider that one is connected to the other.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 08:08:31 PM EST

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