Arab-American group claims Muslims targeted by ‘American Sniper’

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As the Oscar race reaches fever pitch, yet another potential controversy has come up regarding “American Sniper,” which is nominated for six Academy Awards.

A Washington, D.C.-based civil rights organization, the American-Arab Discrimination Committee, has sent a letter to “American Sniper” director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper requesting their help, claiming an escalation of threats to Arab and Muslim Americans in the wake of the release of the movie.

In the letter, dated Jan. 21, the group’s president Samer Khalaf wrote, “A majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are [the] result of how Arabs and Muslims are depicted” in the film. Khalaf says the group is in receipt of “hundreds of violent messages” from moviegoers, many of which have been made on social media.

The film has become an enormous box office hit, now having passed $200 million in U.S. ticket sales. In response to the kind of concerns emphasized in Khalaf’s letter, Warner Bros. spokesman Jack Horner told the Reuters news agency the film studio “denounces any violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric, including that which has been attributed to viewers. Hate and bigotry have no place in the important dialogue that this picture has generated about the veteran experience.”

Khalaf also wrote that he and his organization believe Eastwood and Cooper could “play a significant role in assisting us in alleviating the danger we are facing.

“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.”

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