Here’s a report from Spokane about a bomb that was found in a backpack yesterday on the route of a parade held annually to celebrate Martin Luther King Day (that’s M.L.K. pictured at left). The investigation’s still preliminary, but the north-west U.S. is a haven for White Supremacists and right now the finger’s being pointed at them.
Closer to home, here’s a CBC report on threats received by the National Library in Ottawa that resulted in it cancelling a screening of the documentary Iranium that was scheduled to be held tonight. The film takes a critical view of Iran’s political leadership and the threat posed to Middle East security by Iran’s nuclear program.
At first glance, the decision to pull the screening seems like a pretty blatant constraint of free speech. What isn’t mentioned in the CBC report, though, is that Iranium was produced by an American organization called the Clarion Fund — a New York based non-profit founded in 2006 by Canadian-Israeli filmmaker Raphael Shore with the professed goal of exposing the dangers of radical Islam.
In the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, the Clarion Fund backed Republican candidate John McCain, and distributed 28 million copies of its first documentary Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West (which premiered on Fox News in 2006) in key swing states. So it very definitely has a political agenda (along with deep pockets to execute it with).
In the U.S., the Clarion Fund has been criticized by moderate political and religious leaders for fomenting hate against Muslims so it’s not surprising that the Ottawa screening drew protests. Which doesn’t justify cancelling it. But it’s also important to recognize that the Clarion Fund has a demonstrated anti-Islamic bias that undermines significantly its credibility as a documentary film producer.