Czech film angers Muslims
The footage in I, Muslim shows a reporter pretending to be someone interested in converting to Islam. He conducts several conversations with members of the mosque, located in Èerný Most, about Islam, Europe, terrorism and the role of women. Oveèka says he stands behind his choice to use the hidden camera footage. "I wanted to get real opinions of the local Muslim community on the issue find out what the differences are between Czech and foreign Islam," he says.
One Muslim in the documentary compares Islamic terrorists to Jan Palach, the Czech student who committed suicide by setting himself on fire in protest of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Another says Islamic law should be implemented in the Czech Republic, including the death penalty for adultery, Oveèka says. "I have to say with 100 percent certainty that by using hidden camera I have learned things that I would never have learned otherwise," he says. "The result was alarming, and if not for the hidden camera, I would have never had any of this footage."
The documentary's editing is drawing the most criticism. Marek Èanìk, a project coordinator with the Prague Multicultural Center, says the documentary was edited in such a way that it fed into pre-existing xenophobia.
Opponents of the documentary cite its footage of the mosque, intercut with images of terrorist attacks, without any proven connection between the two. They also say the use of a hidden camera makes it seem as though such discussions in mosques are secretive, when in fact anyone can film inside a mosque with permission. "I consider it a scandal that it has been produced and broadcast by public television," Èanìk says. "It fits in the general frame of fear of Islam and Muslims coming to us from other parts of Europe. People are afraid without knowing what exactly they fear."
|Oh, I don't know ... I think they have a pretty good idea what they fear.|
Posted by: lotp 2006-03-05