Filmmaker Ami Horowitz — known for his spot-on sidewalk interviews that humorously expose flaws in everyday people’s thinking — descended last week upon the streets of a New York City neighborhood that’s become the Mecca for all things hip and progressive: Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
Here Horowitz had a simple question for those shuttling between coffee shops and cafes: Did Islam play a role in the Orlando terror attack?
Given that gunman Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, reportedly had connections to radical Muslim teachers, took trips to the Middle East and in the end targeted a gay nightclub where he killed 49 people, one might assume even in a liberal hotbed that more than a few folks would acknowledge Islam’s role.
Well, that’d be a big ‘ol nope.
“I don’t think it had much to do with Islam, to be honest,” one woman said. “I think it was another situation of a lonely, deranged male.” She later added, “People are not evil, this is ignorance.”
“I don’t think it’s fair to say Islam played a role in this,” a man answered.
“I don’t think it was an Islamic crime,” another guy said.
“I don’t think it was a terrorist,” a different man said, later adding that “guns way more than Islam” are the real culprits.
Horowitz tossed a few softballs to the Williamsburg folks, asking who they’d blame more — Republicans or Islam.
One guy replied that he places blame ”more on the Republicans than Islam,” and the first woman in the clip added that she blames “100 percent the Republicans.”
Another guy offered a glimmer of an alternate opinion, seemingly placing Islam in the mix for blame, but to him it came in third after guns and Republicans.
“If you’re gonna blame Islam, you gotta blame all the religions,” one woman argued. When Horowitz shot back asking if she even includes Buddhists in the mix, she said yes.
Horowitz was confounded, loudly wondering how “those radical yoga people” could be called to contempt.
“Islam on the whole is a very peaceful, like, religion,” one guy answered. “It’s a very peaceful people.”
Another fellow whose accent seemed to give him away as a Brit offered that he didn’t believe “homophobia and Islam necessarily go hand in hand.”
When Horowitz questioned his final subject, he answered that Islam is “just as peaceful as any other religion, honestly.”
But the host asked the guy if he could remember the last time there was an attack “in the name of Jesus or Christianity.”
The interviewee seemed at a loss for words: “Can’t really think of any, but…”
Horowitz helped him out: “Crusades.”
“Yeah,” the man replied, “but again, that was the 1500s, that was a long time ago.”
Check out the clip:
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