Just Wait Till the Muslims See It

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With
perhaps one in five Americans already having seen it, The Passion
continues to rack up attendance records. Would you like to hear
an amazing statistic? In spite of dire warnings by some Jewish groups,
no American Jews wending their way homewards from the synagogue
have been set upon by crucifix-wielding Christians intent on wreaking
revenge for the death of Jesus.

I
am not being sarcastic. This truly is an amazing statistic. According
to Boston police reports, the Oliver Stone-Quentin Tarantino 1994
Natural
Born Killers
inspired several imitation murders including
a firefighter killed by a man who claimed to be fascinated by the
film.

Nathaniel
White claimed that Robocop showed him how to kill five
women and one girl in a year-long murder spree. Four young gunmen
embarked on a killing spree, murdering four after watching the TV
movie Helter Skelter, a film about the Manson murders.
The annals of American crime are filled with instances of the unbalanced
and the demented acting out silver screen slashing extravaganzas.

Back
in February, when The Passion was released, would anyone
have been willing to guarantee that out of millions of theater-goers,
not one lunatic would emerge with mayhem on his mind? I would have
offered no such guarantee. Yet, nothing of the sort happened. What
did happen is that several criminals were inspired to confess their
crimes and submit to trial and incarceration after experiencing
The Passion.

Even
the most hostile critic must concede that just as depraved films
stimulate degenerate imitation, so do uplifting films stimulate
noble behavior. That is certainly what has been happening with The
Passion. Wouldn’t it be uplifting and even noble were the Jewish
groups who earlier had insulted The Passion, its maker,
the Gospels that inspired it, and indeed all Christians, now to
issue an apology?

Wouldn’t
it be refreshing if those who earlier warned of anti-Jewish violence
because “Gibson is spouting classic anti-Semitism” would now say
contritely, “We were just plain wrong?” How about a “We’re sorry”
from those who threatened, “Mel Gibson’s mouth has turned into a
lethal weapon.” Instead, what they are now saying is, “Just wait
till those Muslims see The Passion.”

What
exactly can we expect now that a few Moslem communities are screening
the film? It seems to me that we can anticipate only three possible
outcomes.

Possible
outcome number one is that Moslem viewers decry the movie for at
least two of its premises that flatly contradict Koranic doctrine.
The first is that Jesus was crucified. According to the Koran, Jesus
was merely a prophet and was certainly never crucified neither did
he rise from the grave. The second is the movie’s stubborn depiction
of a temple in Jerusalem. Islamic propaganda vehemently denies that
any Jewish presence ever existed upon the Temple Mount. It is chiefly
for these reasons that the movie is not gaining wide exposure among
the world’s Moslems. Those that do see it are quite likely to denounce
it as sheer fabrication.

Possible
outcome number two is that Moslem viewers react to The Passion
by waving their arms, shooting their Kalashnikovs into the air and
yelling, “Yes! We knew it! Those Jews are just no good. Did you
see this? They are even implicated in the death of Jesus.” Presumably
the consequence of this discovery would be that Moslem audiences
then shake their heads sadly and say, “Okay, that’s it! No more
mister nice guy!” Does anyone seriously suggest that Moslems in
the Middle East were just about to denounce homicide bombings until
they saw The Passion? Or would all those studious Islamic
poets and software architects see the movie, abandon their work
and sally into the streets of Marseilles and Islamabad to attack
Jews? How could Mel Gibson’s movie possibly add to the already frenzied
Islamic anti-Semitism?

Finally,
we must confront possible outcome number three. Moslems experience
The Passion, find it profoundly moving, and in large numbers
convert to Christianity. Many would consider this outcome to be
rather improbable but they could be the same people who were also
wrong in their predictions of how The Passion would impact
American audiences. In any event Moslem authorities are not quite
as sanguine which is precisely why so few are allowing The Passion
into their societies in the first place.

And,
should one billion Moslems convert to Christianity, does anyone
really believe that the world be a worse place?

Radio
talk show host, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, is president of Toward
Tradition
, a bridge-building organization providing a voice
for all Americans who defend the Judeo-Christian values vital for
our nation's survival. For
more information or to schedule an interview, please contact: Jennifer
Brunson (206) 236-3046.

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