We perish because we know not… #TLENews
American Sniper has lead to an increase in threats against Muslims since its release, an Arab-American civil rights group claims, according to reports by Reuters, The Guardian and The Independent.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee claims that the rate of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim threats resulting from the film has tripled, The Guardian reported, with the majority of threats coming from social media, Reuters added. More than 100 offensive messages have been collected by the group, Reuters reported, including a tweet that read, “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are — vermin scum intent on destroying us.”
The group sent letters last week to American Sniper‘s director, Clint Eastwood, and star Bradley Cooper, urging them to condemn the “hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from moviegoers,” The Independent reported, citing a copy of the letter.
“It is our opinion that you could play a significant role in assisting us in alleviating the danger we are facing,” the letter, dated Jan. 21, reads, according to Reuters, which was provided with a copy. Furthermore, the group is hoping Eastwood and Cooper can encourage those who see the film not to use it to promote hate and “reduce the hateful rhetoric,” The Independent reports.
“We want Mr. Eastwood or Mr. Cooper to say ‘Don’t use our film to promulgate hatred or bigotry. Don’t use our film to push hate and bigotry and use it as a platform for these racist views,’ ” the ADC’s national legal and policy director, Abed Ayoub, told The Guardian. “If they want to go further, they can say Arabs in America are just as American as the next person.”
The ADC, which claims to be the largest Arab-American grassroots organization in the U.S., said that its members had become targets of “violent threats” early in the week before American Sniper went into wide release, Reuters reported. The group is working with the FBI and police to assess the threats, Reuters added.
Ayoub told The Guardian that the last time the group saw such a sharp increase in threats was in 2010, when the prospect of building a mosque at Ground Zero generated controversy.
ADC president Samer Khalaf told Reuters that the group isn’t calling for a boycott, arguing that doing so would have the opposite effect.
“If we boycott it, it will only cause people to want to see it more,” he said.
Warner Bros. spokesman Jack Horner told Reuters in a statement that the company “denounces any violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric, including that which has been attributed to viewers [of American Sniper, which Warner Bros. is distributing].”
“Hate and bigotry have no place in the important dialogue that this picture has generated about the veteran experience,” Horner added.
American Sniper tells the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, who recorded 160 kills in Iraq. The film has generated controversy over whether it glorifies murder and sanitizes Kyle, who called Muslims “savages” in his memoir.