Islam: What the West Needs to Know is a 2006 documentary film produced by Quixotic Media. According to the producers, the film is an examination of Islam and its violence towards non-Muslims.
It features discussions using passages from religious texts and includes commentaries by Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, Bat Ye’or, Abdullah Al-Araby, and Walid Shoebat.
The film premiered at the American Film Renaissance Festival in Hollywood on January 15, 2006, and had a limited theatrical release in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta in summer 2006. The film had caught attention mainly through its distribution via web.
Some have considered the film to be thought-provoking and important, with the Gwinnett Daily Post describing its message as “mind-blowing”. Other reviewers criticised the film as being inaccurate, simplistic and biased and even propagandist against Islam. The Chicago Tribune’s reviewer, Michael Phillips, describes it as a “deadly dull anti-Islam propaganda piece”.
The Washington City Paper’s review, Louis Bayard, argues that “If [the directors] Davis and Daly had a little imagination, they might see that the devil they’re chasing isn’t Islam but fundamentalism, which assumes many forms.”
A film review by The Charlotte Observer, which does not accept or reject the film’s thesis, is summarized on the back cover of the video wrapping with the phrase, “…if their central thesis is true — and it’s worth considering — then this is the most horrific film of the 21st century so far.”
Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to orthodox theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology.
The term “fundamentalism” was originally coined by its supporters to describe five specific classic theological beliefs of Christianity, and that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time.
The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs. “Fundamentalism” is sometimes used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase “right-wing fundamentalists”).
Terrorism is the systematic use of violence (terror) as a means of coercion for political purposes. In the international community, terrorism has no legally binding, criminal law definition.
Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts that are intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Some definitions now include acts of unlawful violence and war.
The use of similar tactics by criminal organizations for protection rackets or to enforce a code of silence is usually not labeled terrorism, though these same actions may be labeled terrorism when done by a politically motivated group. Usage of the term has also been criticized for its frequent undue equating with Islamism or jihadism, while ignoring non-Islamic organizations or individuals.
The word “terrorism” is politically loaded and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”.
In some cases, the same group may be described as “freedom fighters” by its supporters and considered to be terrorists by its opponents.
The concept of terrorism may be controversial as it is often used by state authorities (and individuals with access to state support) to delegitimize political or other opponents, and potentially legitimize the state’s own use of armed force against opponents (such use of force may be described as “terror” by opponents of the state).
At the same time, the reverse may also take place when states perpetrate or are accused of perpetrating state terrorism. The usage of the term has a controversial history, with individuals such as Nelson Mandela at one point also branded a terrorist