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Kim Winnegge, Published October 06 2008

DVD advertisement in The Forum denounced at news conference in Moorhead

MOORHEAD - About 20 people gathered this afternoon at Moorhead Center Mall to denounce an advertisement distributed in The Forum a little over a week ago.

Some suggested subscription cancellations. Some suggested writing letters to the editor. Others took a more serious stance.

“I would suggest that if you are concerned about an issue like this … would be for a business to take your advertising out of The Forum in protest,” said Paddy McLaughlin, a member of the North Dakota Peace Coalition and a local radio show host who focuses on peace issues.

“If you buy from businesses who are supporting The Forum, maybe you stop buying there,” she said.

On Sept. 28, The Forum distributed a DVD on cardboard backing titled, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.”

The hourlong movie shows news images of terrorism and anti-American speeches and compares radical extremists’ push to eradicate Western ways with Nazi Germany’s war against the Jews.

The video was paid for by The Clarion Fund, a nonprofit group in Delaware. It was distributed to more than 28 million households, mainly through about 70 newspapers.

Tammie Yak, a member of the Moorhead Human Rights Commission, said the news conference served to “denounce hate literature such as this in our community” and “show great support for our friends, neighbors, who are Muslim.”

Forum Editor Matthew Von Pinnon wrote about the ad in his Sunday column.

“Before the insert ran in our paper, a half-dozen managers from different departments at The Forum sat down together to view it. Even if some of us didn’t agree with the content or how it was portrayed, we all agreed there was no good reason to reject it,” he said.

“Fact is, advertising by its very nature is meant to influence. In most cases, it is selling a product or service. But, occasionally, it’s also selling an idea or philosophy. We’re reminded of that daily in this political season,” he said.

Fauzia Haider attended the news conference to voice her concerns as a Muslim member of the community.

“When people see this DVD, they’ll think this is Islam. It’s just not fair,” Haider said.