Amazon Video Overlooks Muslim Partners’ Radical Dogma
Heartwarming images of friendship between an Anglican priest and a Muslim imam fill an ad campaign produced by Amazon.com — in partnership with Muslim and Christian groups from the US and UK — which debuted before Thanksgiving.
All of this would be fine, were it not for the extremist and Islamic supremacist views that Amazon‘s Muslim partners have expressed in the past, including both anti-Christian and antisemitic sentiments, and remarks trumpeting their own dangerous brand of Islam.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The ad opens with a Christian clergyman inviting an imam into his living room. The two older men chat comfortably over a cup of tea, each grimacing with knee pain as they stand to say goodbye. The two men then go online and order knee braces as gifts for each other, and the ad ends with the clerics donning the braces before confidently kneeling in prayer.
The actors are an actual imam and Church of England priest, according to The Guardian.
“In an era of division and disharmony, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is proud to have worked with Amazon, along with other faith-based organizations, on its ad for Amazon Prime. This ad goes beyond its objective of selling a product and highlights true friendship and caring, despite religious and racial backgrounds,” ICNA’s Sisters Wing USA said in a Nov.17 Facebook post.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos praised his company’s marketing department on Twitter: “Love this TV commercial for Amazon Prime. Very proud of our ad team.”
Amazon also partners with ICNA through the AmazonSmile program, in which Prime members can donate to any of nearly one million charities — a list that includes ICNA — which receive 0.5% of their purchases.
ICNA retains a strong spiritual connection with Islamist pioneer Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, the founder of the radical South Asian Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami, from which ICNA’s founders drew inspiration.
Maududi’s works remain on ICNA’s reading lists. Its Sacramento chapter recommends Maududi’s Let us Be Muslims to high school students for its Young Muslims Islamic Quiz. The book has strong anti-Christian overtones, saying that the religion is made up of a “hopeless mess of meaningless doctrines and empty rituals which could neither elevate the spirit, illuminate the intellect, nor move the emotions.” It also claims that Christianity degenerated into “the lap of paganism.”
Back in 2012, ICNA’s “Quiz on Competition on Islamic Knowledge and Skills” tested 11th and 12th graders on their knowledge of Maududi’s book, Towards Understanding Islam, which is published on ICNA’s Youth website.
In chapter seven, “The Principles of the Shari’ah,” Maududi writes: “The greatest sacrifice made in the way of God is jihad. In it man sacrifices not only his own life and belongings, but destroys those of others as well. But the Islamic principle is that we should suffer a lesser loss in order to save ourselves from a greater one. What comparison would the loss of some lives — even if it were thousands or more be to the calamity that would befall mankind as the result of the victory of evil over good.”
In another book, Jihad in Islam, Maududi argues that Muslims should destroy “all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it.”
ICNA’s Southern California chapter also recommends books by Islamist spiritual leader Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb. The former has praised Hitler for killing Jews during the Holocaust and, according to the 9/11 Commission Report, the latter had a strong influence on Osama bin Laden’s thinking.
Like Maududi and Qaradawi, who argue for the establishment of an Islamic state ruled by shariah law, ICNA’s 2010 Member’s Hand Book teaches that the group’s ultimate goal is to unite all Muslims under a single Islamic state ruled by a Caliph.
Additionally, ICNA’s annual conventions held jointly with the Muslim American Society (MAS) have featured numerous sectarian, hate-filled speakers. These include Jordanian professor Amjad Quourshah, who posted a screed on his Facebook page in August 2013 claiming that Coptic Christians in Egypt burned down their own churches, when, in reality, Muslim Brotherhood gangs carried out those attacks following Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s downfall. Muslim Brotherhood leader Ragheb Elsergany called for violent jihad against Israel at the 2009 MAS-ICNA Convention and returned two years later to call for the Jewish state’s destruction.
In 2009, Britain’s Labour government cut off ties with the MCB for a year after its leaders signed a pro-Hamas declaration.
As recently as 2014, MCB’s Secretary General Farooq Murad served as a trustee of Muslim Aid, a group that is part of the Union of Good, an organization that the US Treasury blacklisted in 2008 as a Hamas fundraising operation.
Last spring, Huffington Post columnist Kashif N. Chaudhry noted that an MCB-affiliated group, called Khatme Nabuwat, celebrated the murder of an Ahmadi Muslim shopkeeper in Scotland on social media, saying, “Congratulations to all Muslims.” A few days later, pamphlets saying “Kill Ahmadis” were found at the group’s London mosque.
Khatme Nabuwat’s Facebook page says that it stands for “protection of Islam, and that is the biggest Jihad, anyone who dies fighting for this is a Martyr.”
Though MCB itself condemned attacks against Ahmadis, it has sanctioned a belief that they can be regarded as non-Muslims, and critics have accused MCB of not being serious about combating violent extremism and stalling an investigation into Khatme Nabuwat.
Holiday messages of peace and friendship are sure ways to warm the heart. But Amazon‘s choice of Muslim partners reduces this campaign’s intended message to a hollow public relations stunt.