Outcry in Germany as anti-Semitic film sells out to Muslims

By Tony Paterson in Berlin, The Telegraph

A virulently anti-Semitic film about the Iraq war has provoked a storm of protest in Germany after it sold out to cheering audiences from the country’s 2.5 million-strong Turkish community.

Valley of the Wolves, by the Turkish director Serdan Akar, shows crazed American GIs massacring innocent guests at a wedding party and scenes in which a Jewish surgeon removes organs from Iraqi prisoners in a style reminiscent of the Nazi death camp doctor Joseph Mengele.

Bavaria’s interior minister admitted last week that he had dispatched intelligence service agents to cinemas showing the film to “gauge” audience reaction and identify potential radicals.

Edmund Stoiber, the state’s conservative prime minister, has appealed to cinema operators to remove what he described as “this racist and anti-Western hate film” from their programmes.

The £6 million film, the most expensive Turkish production ever made, had already proved a box office hit in Turkey, where it first opened last month at a gala attended by the wife of the country’s prime minister.

The production went on general release in Germany a fortnight ago and has had full houses ever since. More than 130,000 people, most of them young Muslims, saw the film in the first five days of its opening. At a packed cinema in a largely Turkish immigrant district of Berlin last week, Valley of the Wolves was being watched almost exclusively by young Turkish men. They clapped furiously when the Turkish hero of the film was shown blowing up a building occupied by the United States military commander in northern Iraq.

In the closing sequence, the hero is shown plunging a dagger into the heart of a US commander called Sam, played by Billy Zane. The audience responded by standing up and chanting “Allah is great!”

Afterwards, an 18-year-old member of the audience said: “The Americans always behave like this. They slaughtered the Red Indians and killed thousands in Vietnam.

“I was not shocked by the film, I see this on the news every day.”

The nature of the film and the enthusiastic reception given to it by young Muslims, has both shocked and polarised politicians and community leaders.

Bernd Neumann, the culture minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government complained last week that the reaction to the film “raises serious questions about the values of our society and our ability to instil them”.

Kenan Kolat, the head of Germany’s Turkish community, insisted that a ban on the film would make matters worse. “If it is withdrawn, it will raise levels of identification with the film,” he said. “A democracy must be able to endure films that it doesn’t approve of.”

Alin Sahin, the film’s distributor in Germany, argued: “When a cartoonist insults two billion Muslims it is considered freedom of opinion, but when an action film takes on the Americans it is considered demagoguery. Something is wrong.”

But those arguing for a ban on Valley of the Wolves appeared to have won a partial victory last week when Cinemaxx, one of Germany’s largest cinema chains, announced that it was withdrawing the film.

February 15, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. It Is Absolutely Right To Say That Something Is Wrong

    The fact that over 130 thousand Germans saw this Turkish produced anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-Western movie, that most were young Muslims of Turkish descent and that their response was to wildly cheer and applaud, should give not only Germans, but Americans, Israelis and all Westerners pause when they think that Turkey, being the only Muslim democracy is like Western democracies and so too would Muslims who have immigrated from Turkey to the West.

    The movie is based on a TV series running in Turkey over the last 3 years and presumably that too is anti-Semitic, American and Western. Word over the last year or so is that the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and his government have decidedly been leaning more towards Middle Eastern Muslim views and values. It should not be surprising therefore that Turkey would become increasingly tolerant of anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western sentiments within its government and populance.

    The comment by Bernd Neumann, German culture minister that:

    the film “raises serious questions about the values of our society and our ability to instil them”.

    echoes the unfortunate typical Western reaction to Muslim anger at the West or Muslim joy at Western expense, which is for Westerners to blame themselves for that Muslim anger and hatred towards the West instead of blaming the Muslims.

    Kenan Kolat, the head of Germany’s Turkish community gives yet another insight into his Turkish community’s views when he:

    “insisted that a ban on the film would make matters worse. “If it is withdrawn, it will raise levels of identification with the film,” he said. “A democracy must be able to endure films that it doesn’t approve of.”

    Apart from his pompous sophistry, it is noteworthy that Kolat does not acknowledge that a pro-Israel/American or anti-radical Muslim movie almost certainly would never be allowed to be shown in Turkey. that fact and others raises a very serious question, is Turkey a democracy in name only? If the answer is yes, the West had best accept and act accordingly instead of pretending Turkey is a democracy anything like Western democracy and accordingly Turkey’s attitudes, perceptions, values, morals and ethics are not at all like those of Western democracies.

    Alin Sahin, the film’s distributor in Germany, argued:

    “When a cartoonist insults two billion Muslims it is considered freedom of opinion, but when an action film takes on the Americans it is considered demagoguery. Something is wrong.”

    Sahin too, not being able to see beyond the point of his Muslim nose draws equivilences between non equivilent situations. The Mohammed cartoons were published in the West and by Western standards were not insulting of Islam or Muslims or if they were they were far less insulting than the West insults its own Christianity. Secondly, the Muslim reaction was not immediate, but was orchestrated by radical Muslims and Muslims who hate the West. Thirdly, those cartoons first were published in an Egyptian newspaper and that drew no response. Finally, the world wide Mulsim reaction was angry, threatening and sometimes violent and deadly.

    What does Alin Sahin have to say about the virulent racist anti-Semitism/anti-Christianity/anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism that is spewed daily in all kinds of media venues by many Muslim Middle Eastern nations? Why nothing of course!

    But when Alin Sahin says,

    “Something is wrong”

    , he is so terribly right. That wrong has far more to do with a great many Muslim and Turkish Muslim immigrants to the West then it has to do with Westerners.

  2. All quite understandable. Rather than banning the film, Depo-Provera should be should be offered free of charge to both male and female Turks. Then those who accepted the offer would see the film again, free of charge, without the influence of testosterone. I feel certain that their new internal chemistry would moderate their reactions. “Us and Them” attitudes are less prominent in the very young and very old. The young seek the truth and the old have a more realistic view of truth – unless they are in extended mid-life crisis. I personally no longer experience a thrill when watching John Wayne films. My loss or my gain?

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