Watching Islam: What the West Needs to Know without any previous knowledge of Muslims or the Koran is akin to going deep sea diving for the first time with no formal training, or, more realistically, like watching Michael Moore’s Sicko without ever experiencing the American healthcare system first hand. A lot of information is thrown around and without the proper education to either agree with or dispute any of it, it all must be digested as factual. Depending on who you ask, this is the proper way to view this unbiased and revealing documentary or you are being tricked by thisÂ xenophobic and hatefulÂ piece ofÂ anti-muslimÂ propaganda.
It’s not surprising that a film whose sole purpose is to answer the question “Is Islam itself a violent religion?” with a resounding “Hell Yes!” should be just a tad controversial. Featuring interviews with several noted experts on Islam and indepth examinations of the Koran and other Islamic texts, the case against a peaceful Islam is slowly and methodically built throughout the film. Islam is presented as an intolerant and destructive ideology rather than the peaceful, yet misrepresented, religion that both Eastern and Western leaders purport it to be. “Like Nazism and Communism, in Islamism the end justifies the means… the whole idea is to promote their way of thinking and to promote their way of life throughout the world.” says author and former terrorist Walid Shoebat. Candidly discussing his involvement in bombings and terroristic attacks, Shoebat provides a chilling description of life as a Muslim both in the Middle East and in the United States.
The film is split into sixÂ parts, with each part explaining a bit more aboutÂ Islam. There is aÂ section on the exclusiveness and intolerance of Islam (“There is No GodÂ But Allah…”), aÂ section on whatÂ “jihad” really means (like “mein kampf” it means,Â “my struggle”),Â aÂ section on the expansionÂ of Islam through violence, a section onÂ the mistakes and misrepresentations of Islamist apologists, a section on the totality of Islam (“More Than a Religion”), and a final section entitled “The House of War” that establishes that violence is and always has been a part of Islam. Whether or not all of the information can be taken at face value, first time filmmakers Bryan Daly and Gregory M. Davis present a very compelling argument. It’s cut together more like an educational film than most of the flashy documentaries that come out today, and that only serves to boost the feeling of truth behind their central idea.
One of the interviewees states resolutely that “there are peaceful and moderate Muslims, but no peaceful and moderate Islam.” After watching Islam: What the West Needs to Know and witnessing this subject thoroughly dissected for 98 minutes, audience members will find themselves struggling to disagree with the statement. Some viewers willÂ walk away from the film shaking their heads in wondermentÂ at whatÂ a terribly violent and unforgiveable religion Islam really is. Some may actively disagree with the film’s main thesis, positing that the verses used were misinterpreted and the interviewees biased.Â Hopefully, though, most viewers willÂ see the film as impetus to do research of their own into the subject, realizing that this isn’t a passingÂ topic that can be quickly swept under the rug. If nothing else, this film serves as a strong warning sign toÂ keep yourself educated on difficult matters because some subjects are too dangerous to ignore.