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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Is 'Angels and Demons' soft on Muslim terrorists?


Just when Ron Howard thought he was in the clear, having avoided being attacks by the Vatican for any anti-Catholic story lines in his upcoming "Angels and Demons," he now finds himself under fire from the one and only Debbie Schlussel. Revered as a truth-teller in conservative circles, the blogger-critic is actually a trigger-happy anti-Muslim zealot -- she went nuclear last year when "Defiance" Ed Zwick director refused to condemn Hamas -- who's now taking aim at "Angels and Demons," which she (big surprise) thinks is soft on Muslim terrorists.

How did the Howard-directed thriller go from being anti-Catholic to pro-Muslim? According to early press reports, Howard apparently changed the identity of an assassin, who is Muslim in the Dan Brown bestseller, to someone who is now Danish. For the rest of us, this is -- how should I put it -- not such a big deal. But for Schlussel? She writes:

"Over the years, I've written about the many movies in which Hollywood changes the villain or the terrorist in the original script or novel from a Muslim to something else out of politically correct deference to Islam, the religion of whiners (and ultimately, murderers). Now, Hollywood continues in this tradition. ... I'm already learning that ['Angels and Demons'] has been 'disinfected' by Islamopanderers (director Ron Howard) not wanting to upset our dear friends in the 'Religion of Peace,' who might do something 'peaceful' if the movie had stayed true to the book."

This is just part of a prolonged Schlussel shame campaign, often based on the flimsiest of evidence, to belittle Hollywood for not treating Muslims as wild-eyed villains. In one of her classic posts, she attacked Marvel Comics for giving academic internships to Arab students from the United Arab Emirates, using that as evidence to support her outrageous claim that "Spider-Man and the Hulk are embracing the new Nazis." She also recently ridiculed the Wall Street Journal for allowing one of its reporters ("with a Muslim-sounding first name") to write admiringly about a Muslim author doing a DC comic book.

I don't exactly have a direct line to Ron Howard to talk to him about his casting process. But here's my suggestion: The next time Howard does a Dan Brown thriller, if there's a good part for a terrorist, I think he oughta make sure Debbie Schlussel gets first crack at the job.   



Photo of Tom Hanks in "Angels and Demons" by Zade Rosenthal/Columbia Pictures.

Comments () | Archives (22)

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Patrick - OK, so Debbie Schlussel is a "TRIGGER-HAPPY anti-Muslim zealot. You don't find it a "big deal" or even slightly ironic that the jihadist terrorist has been replaced by a Dane, given this past bit of history: ?
And it is not a serious issue for discussion that given 9/11, Bali, Madrid, 7/7, Mumbai and suicide bombings too numerous to list that it's curious that American film producers/movie makers have a hard time having jihadists as terrorists in their movies (at least ones that weren't blackmailed into it by or impersonated by American right-wing nutjobs hoping to elevate their Halliburton or Blackwater stocks)?

She's overheated, to be sure ... but she has a valid point about how Hollywood routinely changes the nationality of Muslim villains to appease the Islamic lobby ... or someone - I'm not sure precisely whom.

And for the poster who compared her to Al Qaeda, the last time I checked she hasn't beheaded anyone. Maybe I'm being too technical with that tiny difference, but there it is.

Patrick, why do you have such hatred toward Debbie? Why does Hollywood whitewash the original novels in movies. Hollywood did the same with Tom Clancy's Sum of All Fears. What is Hollywood so afraid of? Do you honestly think that people will harm Muslim's because a character in a movie is Muslim?

I think movies should be realistic. This is as bad as 24, where the blonde haired woman is committing terrorists activities and the Muslims are saving the day. What world do you live in? Hello Fantasy World.

Let's face it, Hollywood is afraid of Muslim rage towards them.

Hollywood likes to pretend their so bold...and proncipled. They're just cowards.

The simple truth is, Hollywood execs are probably aware that the likes of Schlussel (i.e, bigots) would eagerly welcome Muslim-Terrorists as villains in order to cement their hateful views. Miss Schlussel uses the word "Muslim" as a pejorative. All Muslims are automatically the enemy. Is it responsible then to portray Muslims as terrorists in films when Schlussel and her like would use it as propaganda in their hate campaign? In short, like David Duke is to Jews and Blacks, so is Debbie Schlussel to Muslims. What a reprehensible person.

Sorry Patrick, but you beg the question.

Why take an Islamic character from a famous and wildly successful book—a member of the Muslim order of Assassins that was the genesis of the word in the first place—and not only change him into to a non-Muslim, but to a Danish man (with the baggage that country has now over Mohammed cartoons, etc)? That doesn't fix up any dangling plot point. It was clearly done because Hollywood is "uncomfortable" with Muslim killers in movies these days. Just as was nauseatingly done in the movie version of Tom Clancy's "Sum of All Fears," when Muslim terrorists form the book became (unbelievably) "neo-Nazis. It may not be a "big deal" to you, but it is blatantly a gutless and politically motivated thing to do, whatever you may think of Schlussel. The very same allegations were made in "Slate" by Reihan Salam in 2002, who reported on the efforts of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations to muscle the movie industry.

Or are Slate and Salam too right wing for you?

Christians are soft targets, Muslims in the other hand have killed people over cartoons and movies just look how Theo van Gogh ended with his neck slashed and a note pinned with a knife to his chest.

Goldstein is a Useful Idiot Dhimmi, but A I Khan is a liar in defense of jihad. Here is some of what he's hoping you'll never know:

"the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: 'Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. . . . Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them . . .'" (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).

"fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . . " (Qur’an 9:5).

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29).

"Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle . . . '" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24).

"It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise" (Qur'an 8:67).

"Allah’s Apostle said, 'I have been made victorious with terror. The treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand'" (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220).

This is 2009. How can racist garbage like this movie be in the mainstream?
I can't believe Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are perpetuating rightwing hate screeds as a summer popcorn movie.

Anyone who has actually READ Angels and Demons knows that Patrick Goldstein is lying here. The fact that the Muslim was an assassin was a MAJOR part of the book's plot AND theme. The Muslim's hatred for Catholic Church was motivated by the Crusades, he used traditional Middle Eastern methods for torture and assassination, and also Dan Brown, a liberal feminist (yes there are male feminists and Brown is one) and deist, was not too subtly drawing parallels between Roman Catholicism and Muslim terrorists, which Brown sees as one and the same. If anything, at the time that Brown wrote Angels and Demons (1994), he saw Roman Catholicism as a bigger threat than Muslim terrorists, and he probably still believes it.

Making the assassin non - Muslim changes so much about the book that it makes one wonder whether Howard's primary desire for making the book was to depict Catholic priests being tortured and killed. Now, I am certainly not Catholic nor a supporter of the Catholic Church, and I see Muslim terror today and the Crusades/Inquisitions of times past as six of one and half a dozen of the other. But the "Islam versus Catholicism" theme, tension, equivalency, dualism etc. was a huge part of the book which had the effect of moderating Dan Brown's Catholic bashing, and leaving it out makes it a completely different story. By pretending otherwise, Goldstein is actually worse than Schussel, whom I dislike intensely but at least is far more honest.

"The Muslim's hatred for Catholic Church was motivated by the Crusades, he used traditional Middle Eastern methods for torture and assassination"

No, the first Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095 in defense of eastern Christians under siege for centuries by Islam. (Though it is true that few things enrage Muslims more than their victims fighting back. And that's saying something!)

And have you ever considered the effect that eight hundred years of Islamic "tolerance" must have had on the theology and practice of Spain (and the rest of western Europe)? What about centuries of jihad against eastern Europe?

How can one endure the depredations of Muhammad without being misshapen?

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