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Why "American Sniper" is not "just a movie"
Bradley Cooper and Luke Grimes in American Sniper (2014) - photo by Sohaib Awan
"American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper as a patriotic sniper serving in the Iraq War, is not just a movie." It serves as a chilling reminder of the realities of war a war that remains an afterthought for many Americans who weren't directly involved in the action and the hurtful feelings many Americans still hold towards Islam.

Thanks to the film, however, most viewers come out feeling some appreciation for the sacrifices our soldiers and their families have made and still continue to make to protect our personal freedoms.

One line in the movie describes the main characters reason for fighting: God, country, family. Clich as it may be this line sums it up well. Serving in the armed forces out of ones faith in God, loyalty and love for ones country, and responsibility to ones family and countrymen just seems too good to be true.

But personal experience with a retired Muslim U.S. Marine, Sergeant Tayyib Rashid, has shown me that these values are very real. When asked about his reasoning to serve, he often responds with a quote from the Prophet Muhammad, Love of ones country is a part of faith.

In that way, the movie, based off of the autobiography of Chris Kyle, famous for being the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, is representative of many soldiers lives. Kyles widow even posted on Facebook that I am overwhelmed with gratitude and my heart is full. American Sniper has broken records which follows such an honest path in Chris life.

The valiant, patriotic image of Chris Kyle portrayed by the film is inspiring if only it wasnt marred by a few disturbing truths. Among other issues, Kyle fabricated stories about killing 30 in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, killing two carjackers in Texas, and fighting former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura in a bar (for which Ventura successfully sued Kyle and was awarded a $1.845 million settlement).

And, arguably, the most upsetting chink in our heros armor came with National Reviews findings that exposed the claim that all proceeds of Kyles autobiography went to veterans charities when only about 2 percent actually did.

More than just a lionizing misrepresentation of Chris Kyle, "American Sniper" adds fuel to the Islamophobia shown in social media responses from across the country, which indicates the rise of a whole culture a culture that finds a grotesque pleasure in killing Arabs and Muslims.

In response to this opinion, many have given the typical response: it is just a movie. However, posts such as, Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are vermin scum intent on destroying us and American sniper makes me want to shoot some f**** Arabs, have shown otherwise.

Such a response should have been expected considering that, throughout the film, not a single Iraqi was shown fighting against extremism, inadvertently implicating all Arabs and Muslims.

And the threat of violent responses fueled by the movie is becoming a very real possibility for peaceful Muslim communities, especially after 128 cases of anti-Muslim incidences have been reported in France in the last two weeks following the Charlie Hebdo shooting. As a result of "American Sniper," according to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, threat complaints have tripled.

One such comment I came across read, I dont shoot people with Korans Id like to, but I dont. This one was especially disturbing, as it didnt come from just anyone. It came from Chris Kyle himself making me wish that "American Sniper" were just a movie.
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