CT-Interview with ex-Muslim Ali Sina about his planned Muhammad biopic
Ali Sina is one of the best known American Islam critics and ex-Muslims. He is a board member of Stop Islamization of Nations (SION) an organization founded by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. Sina has enabled thousands of Muslims to renounce Islam. Now he wants to make a film about the life of the alleged prophet Muhammad. Citizen Times Editor in Chief Felix Strüning spoke to him about Muhammad biographies and the dangers of such a film project (German version at blu-News).
Citizen Times: Mr. Sina, you just published the idea, to produce a movie about the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Why?
Ali Sina: I want the truth be known. Muhammad is the most influential man in history. Not only he transformed much of the countries of Asia and Africa he also greatly influenced the western world. Few people know that the demise of the classical civilization, the crusades, the inquisition, the conquistadores, communism, fascism, Nazism, secret societies, and even the Mafia owed their existence to the influence of Islam.
Today, the western countries that had a long tradition of tolerance are becoming less tolerant. That too is an influence of Islam. People in these countries feel under siege and are reacting. With thinkers such as Zakaria Razi, Farabi, Ibn Sina, Khayyam and others Persia was on the verge of enlightenment one thousand years ago. Islam nipped that in the bud. Think where we would be today if enlightenment happened five hundred years sooner. Those are lost centuries.
Without Muhammad the world would have been a different place – a much safer, gentler and enlightened place. And yet we know so little about this man. He is shrouded in mystery and myths.
Citizen Times: But there are a few good biographies at least the modern ones…
Ali Sina: The original books of history of Muhammad (known as sira) are voluminous and contain a lot of garbage such a miracles that his followers attributed to him, thousands of Arabic names that are unfamiliar to non-Muslim readers and a lot of useless information like the long list of the people who migrated to Abyssinia or the early Yathrebi converts, etc.
Furthermore, to truly understand Muhammad you have to have an insight into his mind. Muhammad’s story is compiled by his devout followers. You can’t trust everything they say about him. Ibn Hisham who made a recension of ibn Ishaq’s sira admitted that he omitted parts of it that he thought may hurt the sensitivities of the believers. Although the original text of Ibn Ishaq is lost, fortunately some of it is saved by other historians such as Tabari. One such example is the killing of Umm Qirfa. She was the leader of her tribe and an elderly woman of courage and wisdom. Ibn Hisham says she was captured and killed cruelly. The details of that cruelty are described by Tabari. Tabari says that her legs were tied to two ropes and each rope was pulled by a camel until she was ripped in two.
To get the full picture, you have to read at least the sira of Ibn Ishaq, the history of Tabari and the Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’d and have a good knowledge of the Quran. That is thousands of pages to read. Reading alone is not enough. You must also be able to separate the wheat from the chaff and for that you have to know what you are looking for. You must become like a detective who goes through a pile of junk to find bits and pieces that will help him to put the puzzle together and make sense of what happened.
Citizen Times: Do you think you have put the puzzle about Muhammad together?
Ali Sina: Yes I think I have. I have studied Muhammad for years from a psychological point of view. I know about his disorders and what motivated him. Without that insight you can’t know Muhammad. You can see that many of the things he did were very evil, but there are also things that make you believe he was sincere and believed in his cause. The mystery can be solved only when you realize that he was affected by a series of mental disorders. Only then you can make sense of what he did and what was the source of his conviction.
Citizen Times: Will there be a written biography accompanying this movie?
Ali Sina: Yes I am working on a book about the life of Muhammad. It follows the same story line of the movie. It is more detailed and is explained. It will be ready before the launch of the movie. It is one thing to tell people about what happened and quite another is to explain why it happened.
Citizen Times: How do you plan to get the necessary people together? It’s a dangerous job to join such a project…
Ali Sina: Now we have technology that allows us to shoot this movie without putting any one’s life in danger. We can make it in 3D, like the movie Tintin or change the features of the actors digitally, like the movie Avatar. No one in the cast or the crew needs to reveal his or her identity.
Citizen Times: The movie What the West Needs to Know about Islam already gives a good insight. Why do we need another movie?
Ali Sina: What the West Needs to Know about Islam is a documentary. The movie I am proposing is a biopic. A documentary attracts a certain type of viewers. That is the kind that reads and is already aware of the problem. A feature film attracts masses. It is the masses that I want to reach. I want people of all walks of life to see this movie for its entertainment value. I want ordinary people in the street, in offices, and kids in colleges talk about Muhammad. A feature film has a much wider audience than a documentary. People don’t pay money to watch documentaries, but they pay for feature films. Now we have the means to get our message to the masses and nothing can reveal the truth about Islam more than revealing the truth about Muhammad.
If we manage to do this movie right and make it accessible to large numbers of people, it will change the discourse about Islam forever. It would be impossible for the dhimmi media and politicians to deceive the public once the world knows the truth. This may change everything.
Citizen Times: Do you think that Muslims will watch it too?
Ali Sina: Yes of course. Muslims are inquisitive like everyone else and they don’t want to live in a lie. They think they have found the truth and that is why they don’t listen. But once the movie is out and the world is talking about it, they will want to see it too and when they do the world will no longer be the same for them. They can’t dismiss it as lies because there will be a footnote giving reference to the sources of the stories.
I have helped countless Muslims to leave Islam. First they deny everything, but truth is more powerful. They can’t deny forever. One Bahraini person wrote that he and his brother used to send DOS attack to cripple my server. Eventually he started reading the articles on faithfreedom.org and left Islam. I am certain this movie will help millions of Muslims to see the light and that will be the beginning of an avalanche. If we get the truth to the masses, we can get rid of Islam in a very short time.
Citizen Times: How do you plan to handle the expecting Islamic protests against crew, producing companies and cinemas?
Ali Sina: The crew and the cast can remain anonymous. We will use CGI to change their features and make them look like Arabs. This will allow us also to make them age. As for distribution, we may show the movie in theaters that are safe, such as in China or in select cities where Muslims don’t pose a major threat. However, this movie will generate a lot of controversy and because of its explosive story many people will want to see it. We will take advantage of ancillary windows for distribution such as home entertainment. That is a huge window and growing.
We are living in a rapidly changing world. Theaters and bookstores are becoming less of a factor for the success of movies and books. More books and movies are sold online and digitally downloaded. Technology has come to our help. A few years ago it would have been impossible to make such a movie or make a profit from it. Now we can do both.
Ali Sina (2008/2011): Understanding Muhammad and Muslims. A psychobiography. More information at: www.alisina.org