He pointed out that this dignity for followers of the other religions, as the per the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran that guarantees their freedom, civil liberties, and basic citizenship rights, is in sharp contrast to the ill-treatment of, and discrimination against, Muslims in Europe and the US. Islam teaches us to deal with followers of other religions in a just and polite manner, said the Leader. He deplored the lack of security for Muslims in the West, saying: In today’s world justice does not prevail in societies ruled by the West. In his meeting with the elected representatives of the religious minorities in the Iranian parliament, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the Hollywood movie “American Sniper” and said: the film incites Christian and non-Muslim youth to harass Muslims. Following the Leader’s speech and his expression of viewpoints on the controversial movie, several segments of the international media agreed that the said film promotes Islamophobia. For instance, the US daily, Los Angeles Times, wrote: Ayatollah Khamenei believes that the film “American Sniper” encourages violence against Muslims and is an example of propaganda against Muslims in the US and Europe. The London-based Daily Telegraph also covered the Leader remarks that ‘American Sniper’ promotes violence against Muslims. In view of the state terrorism policy of the US and the West against Muslims, let us cast a glance at this controversial film and the consequences of its screening in cinemas.
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall. It is based on the book released in 2012 and titled American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. Christopher Kyle, with the assistance of Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, wrote about his targeting of Iraqis during his mission in Iraq. With 255 kills from four tours in the Iraq War, 160 of which were officially confirmed by the Department of Defense, Kyle became the deadliest marksman in US military history. At the 87th Academy Awards, commonly referred as Oscars, the film received six nominations, including Best Actor for Cooper and Best Picture, ultimately winning one award for Best Sound Editing. Assigned to SEAL Team 3, sniper element, platoon "Charlie" (later "Cadillac"), within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with four tours of duty, Kyle served in many major battles of the Iraq War. His first long-range kill shot was taken during the initial invasion when he shot an innocent woman. An article by CNN reported that the woman was cradling a toddler in her hand. Because of his track record as a marksman during his deployment to Ramadi in western Iraq, the Iraqis named him Shaitan ar-Ramadi or The Devil of Ramadi.
An English adage says: those who live by the gun die by the gun. Thus, on February 2, 2013, Kyle and a companion, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas. The shooter was Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old US Marine Corps veteran from Lancaster, Texas.
Christopher Kyle has brazenly expressed his dangerous racist and anti-Muslim ideas in his book. A year before his killing, he had said in an interview: I deeply believe that every person whom I killed has been evil. If I were to taken to account by God for my deeds, certainly there will be many cases, but killing those persons is not a sin. The enemies of the US are barbaric and my duty is killing them and I do not regret it.
The movie opens with a father and his young son hunting a deer. The boy shoots the animal, drops his rifle and runs to see his kill. “Get back here,” his father yells. “You don’t ever leave your rifle in the dirt. That was a helluva shot, son; you got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day.”
This scene depicts Kyle’s training as a marksman by his father.
The camera then cuts to a church interior where a congregation of white Christians is listening to a sermon about what the film says: God’s plan for American Christians. In later scenes the movie switches to Fallujah. Kyle, now a sniper, is told that Fallujah is “the new Wild West.”
This may be the only accurate analogy in the film, given the genocide which the Whites carried out against Native Americans. Kyle hears about an enemy sniper who can do “head shots from 500 yards out. They call him Mustafa. He was in the Olympics.”
Kyle’s first kill is a boy who is handed an anti-tank grenade by a young woman in a black abaya. The woman, who expresses no emotion over the boy’s death, picks up the grenade after the boy is shot and moves toward US Marines on patrol. Kyle kills her too.
And here we have the template for the film that intends to given the message to the audience: Mothers and sisters in Iraq don’t love their sons or their brothers. Iraqi women breed to make little suicide bombers. Children are miniature terrorists. Not one of the “Muslim evildoers” can be trusted—man, woman or child. They are beasts. They are shown in the film identifying US positions to insurgents on their cellphones, hiding weapons under trapdoors in their floors, planting improvised explosive devices in roads or strapping explosives onto themselves in order to be suicide bombers. They are devoid of human qualities.
In many scenes of the movie, in addition to the general insult to Muslims, there is a blatant insult to the Iraqi people. The director considers the country full of satanic and wild persons who should be killed by the American forces. Many of the critics have considered the movie ‘American Sniper’ as ridiculous and silly. American author and journalist, Matthew C. Taibbi of the ‘Rolling Stone’ fortnightly magazine that focuses on popular culture considered the movie to turn the complicated moral morass and mass-bloodshed of the Iraq occupation into a black and white fairy tale, without presenting the historical context.
John Wight of ‘Russia Today’ stated that the American Sniper depicted the Iraqi people as a dehumanized mass of savages, which the white man was in the process of civilizing. British historian and author Alex von Tunzelmann of ‘The Guardian’ daily criticized the simplified black and white portrayal of the Iraq war, and the distortion of facts into unreliable myths based upon previous legends. American journalist, activist, author, and humanitarian, Christopher Lynn Hedges says “American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of US society, that is the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a “Christian” nation to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hyper masculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of the so-called American open society.
Christopher Hedges then quotes Mikey Weinstein who worked in the Reagan White House and is a former Air Force officer, and currently is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which challenges the growing Christian fundamentalism within the US military. Weinstein says: “The movie never asks the seminal question as to why the people of Iraq are fighting back against us in the very first place. It made me physically ill with its twisted, totally one-sided distortions of wartime combat ethics and justice woven into the fabric of Chris Kyle’s personal and primal justification mantra of ‘God-Country-Family.’ It is nothing less than an odious homage, indeed a literal horrific hagiography to wholesale slaughter.”
Weinstein noted that the embrace of extreme right-wing Christian chauvinism, or Dominionism, which calls for the creation of a theocratic “Christian” America, is especially acute among elite units such as the SEALs and the Army Special Forces.
Thus, in view of these facts, the Hollywood movie ‘American Sniper’ can be considered a poisonous anti-Muslim propagating piece in justifying the war-mongering policy of the US military. It not only completely ignores the crimes against humanity of Christopher Kyle and the US, but extolls what it considers to be his duties in killing and insulting the Iraqi Muslim people.