Group says 'American Sniper' film spurs threats against Muslims

Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:26pm EST
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By Mark Guarino

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Arab-American civil rights organization has asked "American Sniper" director Clint Eastwood and actor Bradley Cooper to denounce hateful language directed at U.S. Arabs and Muslims after the release of the film about a Navy marksman.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said in a letter to Eastwood and Cooper that its members had become targets of "violent threats" since early last week, before "American Sniper" went into general release. The letter said Eastwood and Cooper, the film's producer and star, could bolster the ADC's message of tolerance.

"It is our opinion that you could play a significant role in assisting us in alleviating the danger we are facing,” said the letter, dated Jan. 21. Reuters was provided a copy on Saturday.

The film is a box office hit and has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture.

The ADC said it was working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and police to assess the threats.

The film tells the story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper. His 160 kills in Iraq is considered the highest count in U.S. military history. Some critics have said the film glorifies war and sanitizes Kyle, who called Muslims "savages" in his memoir.

Kyle was killed by a disgruntled U.S. veteran at a Texas gun range in 2013.

ADC President Samer Khalaf said on Saturday that it did not make sense to call for a boycott given the film's box office success.   Continued...

Actress Sienna Miller (L), director Clint Eastwood and actor Bradley Cooper ( R) arrive for the premiere of the film "American Sniper" in New York, December 15, 2014.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri