12th January 1999
Commenting on “The Siege”, a Hollywood film widely seen as stoking up Islamophobia, and just released in the UK, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Mr Iqbal Sacranie, said “Such films only serve to dehumanise and increase the gulf of misunderstanding that exists between Muslims and others. It is time that filmmakers and other artists took responsibility for their actions, which often have appalling consequences in the real world. Like any other community Muslims have their rogue elements but these are too often focussed on to the detriment of the many Muslims whose contribution to the life of this country is valued and valuable”.
The films portrays a bombing campaign by “Muslims” in the US and the subsequent declaration of martial law by the American military and carrying out of mass arrests and detention of American Muslims and Arab-Americans as actually occurred with Japanese-Americans during World War Two.
While the film does allude to the very real discrimination faced by Muslims in the west, its underlying message seems to be that Islam brings only violence to a country and that Muslims pose a threat to society. The equation of Islamic religious practices with acts of violence in the film is particularly insidious and offensive.