Satirical filmmaker Ami Horowitz is at it again and this time he’s taken to the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn to ask passersby whether Islam played a role in the recent Orlando massacre. Their answers were nothing if not shocking and altogether disappointing for any educated individual.
Before beginning his series of short interviews with random Brooklynites during a sunny morning last week, Horowitz opened the video, entitled “It’s not Islam, bro!”, by prompting the question many leaders and average citizens around the world have pondered endlessly: Did Islam influence Omar Mateen to carry out the Orlando attack?
Both men and women made their film debut in the two-minute clip as Horowitz is seen interviewing approximately a dozen people, asking them the controversial question. Less strongly opinionated responses included “no, not at all”, “I don’t think it had much to do with Islam”, it was “guns way more than Islam”, and “I don’t think it was an Islamic crime.”
One man was so adamantly against the idea of the motivation behind the attack that he said “I don’t think it was a terrorist.” His confident answer even denied US President Barack Obama’s official classification of the shooting, as the White House had indeed labeled it an “act of terrorism” and the FBI has not ruled out the possibility that Mateen may have been inspired by and/or affiliated with terrorist groups.
An older woman, who looked to be in her mid-50’s, was so utterly convinced of the need to absolve the Islamic religion that she instead introduced a different train of thought behind Mateen’s motivation. “I think it was another situation of a lonely, deranged male,” she said. “See, people are not evil,” she adamantly maintained.
Prompting one particular young male, Horowitz asked, “Republicans or Islam – who would you blame more?” The boy responded with an answer less certain than that typically given by a Jeopardy! contestant: “I think I have to put it more on the Republicans,” he said with a slight shrug. This man was not the only one who felt the conservative party was responsible over the shooting. The older woman firmly agreed with this notion, saying, “It’s 100 percent the Republicans.”
Several of the interviewees appeared to make up outlandish facts to support their pro-Islam views. Argued a British passerby when trying to explain how Islam is clearly a fair and just religion: “There are democracies in the Middle East which have more women elected than we do here in the US.” When Horowitz replied skeptically with “Really?”, the Brit assured him with a very eloquent, “Yeah!” This comes as news to anyone who follows Middle East politics, where the vast majority of Middle Eastern countries are male-dominated monarchies or dictatorships. In reality, women are rarely present in Middle Eastern governing bodies, which are generally patriarchal, and even are oppressed by strict laws ruling over such issues as dress and sexual conduct.
Islam is “just as peaceful as any other religion,” said a young man with earbuds dangling from his ears. Looking for a little more verification, Horowitz asked him if he would compare Christianity with Islam in terms of being a peaceful religion. When the boy answered in the positive, Horowitz questioned him further, saying, “What was the last kind of Christian attack you can think of in the name of Jesus? or Christianity?” After several seconds of thought, the boy responded he “[couldn’t] really think of any.” Horowitz suggested the Crusades. The boy explained that the answer wasn’t so valid because the Crusades occurred during “the 1500’s” and “that was a long time ago.”
History, however, contradicts this young man’s claim. Tensions between Muslims and Catholics during the eleventh century sparked the First Crusade after Islamic warriors began a tirade to conquer land and expand the Islamic Caliphate. Though the First Crusade ended by the eve of the 1100’s, the constant battle between Muslims and Christians endured until the tail end of the fifteenth century.
“Islam as a whole is a very peaceful religion, [Muslims] are peaceful people,” declared one confident gentleman who took offense to the idea Horowitz had introduced.
Horowitz told Fox’s Deirdre Bolton in an interview that of the 20-25 people he interviewed, only two told him that Islam definitely played a role in the attack or they felt uncertain to give a response.
Though Horowitz did clarify that he was standing amid what could be classified as “hipster Williamsburg”, where the majority of people on the street are likely to be left-leaning, he asserted that the response was indicative of an overall liberal agenda of those who refuse to use the word “Islam” when confronting terrorism and even go so far as to blame Republicans. “This is mainstream liberal thinking,” Horowitz said.
When Bolton asked why he thinks people would respond in the way they did, Horowitz explained, “There’s this weird, almost pathological need to make normative radical Islam, or Islam in general.” Further, “it’s really cultural activity and it really manifests itself in [Islamic apologists].”
Supporting this theory of America’s consistent move towards political correctness was the Obama Administration’s decision to release a doctored transcript of Mateen’s 911 calls during the night of the shooting, purged of all references to Islam and ISIS. It was only following an outraged backlash from lawmakers and citizens alike that the administration backtracked and released the full transcript.
Mateen openly stated his allegiance to the Islamic State during the calls, telling the 911 operator, “I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.”