NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Extremist Islamic camps in the Middle East train more than 10,000 Arab children each year how to commit suicide bombings, perpetuate other acts of violence and develop hatred toward Jews, according to “The New Barbarians,” a documentary produced by filmmaker, Caryl Matrisciana, who is a Southern Baptist.
Samuel Shahid, who teaches Islamic studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, warns though, that only a small percentage of Muslims engage in violence toward Jews. In fact, videos like The New Barbarians may cause viewers to inappropriately caricature all Muslims as violent, Shahid said.
Any church or individual that chooses to show The New Barbarians, added Shahid, must tell viewers that the majority of Muslims in the Middle East seek a peaceful resolution to conflict with the Jewish people.
The documentary, released earlier this year, also contends that a significant number of the 1.6 million Muslims in the United States financially support the Middle Eastern camps.
Matrisciana, who has more than 20 years experience as a filmmaker, produced The New Barbarians by compiling footage from Arab television, news reports and other documentaries. This footage shows the graphic aftermath of terrorist bombings and details how Islamic camps are training Arab children as young as 5 years-old to use machine guns, slit human throats, hijack cars and strap explosives to themselves, Matrisciana told Baptist Press.
In one scene, an Arab reporter asks a 5-year-old Muslim boy, “Do you want to be a martyr?”
The boy answers, “Yes.”
“Why?” probes the reporter.
“To kill the Jews,” the boy replies.
Another scene features an Islamic leader exhorting a Middle Eastern congregation to kill Jews and all who support them.
“Amongst them [the Jews] there are no moderates nor peace partisans,” says the Islamic leader. “They are all liars. They must be massacred. They must be killed. Allah the Almighty said: fight them. Have no pity for them, wherever they are, in whatever country. Fight them wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them! Wherever you are, kill these Jews and the Americans who are like them and support them. They fight together against Arabs and Muslims.”
Such hatred is not limited to the Middle East, according to the documentary. Though violent training seems to be confined to the Middle East, there are Islamic camps in the United States that teach American children to hate Jews, Matrisciana said.
“I’m not saying that type of [violent] training is taking place in America, but there certainly are camps that are training young American Muslims in this country to hate Jews, incite hatred of Jews…. And in some of the meetings in the various different American states, you see the people carrying their own guns and saying that we need to spill the blood of Jews. In fact, one little kid, an American child, American Muslim in America went up to the camera of this training camp and said, ‘Butcher the Jews,'” Matrisciana said.
Another alarming problem in the United States, according to Matrisciana, is that a significant number of American mosques financially support organizations that carry out violence against Middle Eastern Jews.
“The mosques raise money, and many times through questionable charities, raise money for the Middle East where young children, where young Arab children are being trained to be human bombs,” she said.
Many of the Muslims in the United States “are being taught in their mosques to be politically active to support the aggressive jihad movement. And jihad, of course, is holy war, which means that you kill the infidels or non-believers or even moderate Muslims….”
Shahid noted, however, that the majority of Muslims do not advocate violence. Only a small group of radicals advocate the behavior depicted in The New Barbarians, he said. The norm among Muslims is a more moderate and peaceful attitude.
“The percentage of the radicals among the Muslims is very low,” Shahid said, “but because they make a lot of noise, the people hear about them but do not hear about the moderate people. The majority of Muslims are moderate.”
The Koran does speak of fighting the enemies of Islam, Shahid acknowledged, but very few Muslims today would ever think of acting violently toward non-Muslims.
Those Arab Muslims who do commit acts of violence often view their actions as self-defense, he continued. Palestinians in particular, view the Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes and the Israeli killing of Palestinian citizens as actions that call for self-defense, Shahid said.
“[Palestinians] look, for instance, at what Israel is doing against them. And if you count the number of those who are killed from the Palestinians and the Arabs and compare to the number of those Israelis who are killed, you will find that there is a great difference in percentage,” he said.
“I am not a person who condones the violence,” Shahid explained. “I am against it 100 percent regardless of who is the source of it. As a Christian first of all, I believe in love. But at the same time … I am trying to help you a little bit to look at it from the other side, not just from the Israeli side. … They talk about children being killed from the Israeli side, but also there are children who are killed from the Palestinian side.”
Still, Matrisciana maintains that The New Barbarians is important because it demonstrates the radical clash of worldviews between Islam and Christianity.
“This religion [Islam] of such cruelty and mayhem is motivating tiny little children to blow themselves up as human bombs to get a position in Islamic paradise. … Ultimately, I compare the worldview of the Creator God with the worldview of Islam,” she said.
“I would encourage every Christian to show this video in their churches, to put the video into the hands of policy makers, politicians, educators so that we can help Americans and our children to understand the incredible crisis that America is in. And I think the most important thing I was trying to do is put across the cause of the Jew, that here they are in Israel going through a September 11 type of crisis every single day of their life.”
Pastors who show The New Barbarians in their churches, however, must remind viewers that the actions depicted are not representative of all Muslims, Shahid warned.
“When you present a movie like that, a video like that in the church … [viewers] think that all Muslims are like that unless the pastor himself is a person who is well educated, he knows about the whole situation, and he [says] from the very beginning, ‘Don’t generalize. This is what the radicals are doing. This is not applicable to all Muslims,'” he said.
In conclusion, Shahid noted that the proper Christian response to all Muslims, whether radical or moderate, is to tell them about the salvation offered in Christ.
“You have to love them. Jesus commanded us to love everybody as human beings and to pray for them and try to reach out to them with love, sensitivity and understanding. We are not called to take sides in this world. We are called to take the side of Christ only.”