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Reviews in Brief: Atomic Jihad

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Atomic Jihad is a documentary that attempts to explain why Iran and its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are doing everything they can to acquire a nuclear weapon. Taken from both a religious and political standpoint, it contrasts the words of President Barack Obama and Ahmadinejad concerning the conflict between Iran and the rest of the non-Islamic world. Director Joel Gilbert compares their words side to side and examines how some of the same words mean entirely different things depending on the context in which they are said.

Now those who've read the books of Robert Spencer other scholars of Islam will probably not learn anything new here. For those who don't have the time to read various tomes on the subject, this provides an easy if disturbing examination of what is at stake. It's a quite extensive overview with both the history of Islam and of the Muslim world as Islamists see it. The documentary tries to avoid adopting a Western view of how it is seen in the Muslim world. The style juxtaposes historical footage and explanation with a contemporary explanation of the current state of play.

It is clear that the interpretation presented is that Ahmadinejad is acquiring the bomb to destroy Israel. He truly believes the Hidden Imam, a messianic figure in the Shi'a faith, is somewhere in the world and is looking for a sign of stern faith to show himself.

A viewer of this documentary might go some way to understand why Israel is so sensitive about the issue of Iran's acquisition of the means to make a bomb.The documentary presents the facts in a clear way that mixes history, rhetoric, and religion to explain the crisis which inches towards the Middles East with every passing day. This is an excellent primer on Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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