Follow Us on Twitter

American Sniper blamed for rise in anti-Muslim threats in US

American Sniper

Story by Jack Foley

CLINT Eastwood’s American Sniper has been blamed for an alleged increase in threats against Muslims in the US.

According to an Arab-American civil rights group The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), “a majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are the result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper“.

As evidence, the ADC has collected “hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers”, mainly placed via Facebook and Twitter.

The ADC has subsequently written to director Eastwood and leading man Bradley Cooper, who also produces, asking them to speak out against the messages “in an effort to reduce the hateful rhetoric”.

“Your visibility, influence, and connection to the film would be a tremendous force in drawing attention to and lessening the serious dangers facing the respective communities,” added ADC president Samer Khalaf.

American Sniper is based on US soldier Chris Kyle’s service in Iraq from 2003-09, during which he became the most lethal sniper in US military history with 160 confirmed kills. It has become a box office sensation in the US, where it has broken records for a January release and garnered Oscar nominations, including one for Best Film and one for Cooper as Best Actor.

Although spokesmen for Cooper and Eastwood had no immediate comment to make, Jack Horner, a spokesman for the Warner Bros film studio, which released the film, told the Reuters news agency that the company “denounces any violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric, including that which has been attributed to viewers” of the film.

He added: “Hate and bigotry have no place in the important dialogue that this picture has generated about the veteran experience.”

The release of American Sniper has been surrounded by furious debate in the US and beyond. Some critics have hailed the film’s portrayal of Kyle as a war hero, but others have criticised it for glorifying violence and for Kyle’s attitude towards his victims.

Michael Moore and Seth Rogen are among the higher profile celebrities opposed to it.

Next story: American Sniper scores Clint Eastwood’s highest ever UK opening