Dinesh D’Souza: Infidel Tells The Truth About Iran!
Barry Nussbaum: Hello and welcome to ATP Report. I'm Barry Nussbaum. We are so thrilled and honored to have back with us Dinesh D'Souza. Dinesh is a World-Famous filmmaker, a bestselling author, a political pundit without peer on national television. He has a new movie out called Infidel that we're going to talk about today. Welcome back, Dinesh.
Dinesh D'Souza: Good to be on the show.
Barry Nussbaum: Thanks so much for joining us. So, let's jump right into it. Infidel's got a very famous lead actor, Jim Caviezel. I understand that you put this all together. It raises some very important issues.
The first one that I think is the most critical to talk about is that there are thousands of cases of brutality by Muslims against non-Muslims for various reasons. Why did it take you making this movie in 2020 to bring this to the forefront of people's consciousness?
Dinesh D'Souza: Well, the reason that I became involved in this project, my wife, Debbie, partnered with me on it. It is because we felt that Hollywood makes only one type of movie with the same type of villains, and the same type of plots.
These are plots that actually often bear no resemblance to the real world. So, they'll make a bunch of movies on terrorism, and the terrorist is always living on some island somewhere. He's Russian or Eastern European. Even though there's Islamic terrorism going on worldwide, it's almost as if that topic is taboo.
To even approach it, even in a fair-minded way, gets you labeled an Islamophobe. So, we wanted to make an intelligent movie that looked at the clash of civilizations, the clash of faith, a man standing up for his beliefs. So, we can kind of concocted it. Debbie, and I did the basic outlines of a plot.
Then we brought in a very talented Iranian American screenwriter, a guy named Cyrus Nowrasteh, who had made a good movie called The Stoning of Soraya M. about a woman who was falsely accused of adultery and stoned in a small Islamic village.
A very riveting and memorable movie, but for a small audience. A kind of a niche movie. We said, "Hey, Cyrus, we've got a mainstream political thriller for you that is for the general audience and reflects patriotic values.
An affirmation of religious freedom that takes a hard look at the issues of Islam." So that's what Infidel is. It does all that. What's remarkable is the audience loves it. In the theater it got 90 percent from the audience. But it also did pretty well with the critics.
That came to me as a surprise because the critics very often are very much on the political left. They are habituated to bashing my documentaries. So, I was quite surprised and pleased that with Infidel, the critics liked it.
Barry Nussbaum: Well, I get that. The part that I'm a little confused about is why this is such an important topic with such relevance today with what's going on worldwide and I include the United States in that. Why doesn't a massive Hollywood studio like Paramount or Miramax go make a movie like this instead of independent filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza having to make it?
Dinesh D'Souza: Well, the reason is that Hollywood, although it's a pretty large operation, is a very small, incestuous place. It's a small community. There is a left-wing bias in all the major cultural institutions of America.
For example, academia or the media, but academia and the media are positively gargantuan compared to Hollywood a small community, stretching across a handful of blocks in Los Angeles, where everybody knows each other and pulls their children into the business.
So, it's very easy in Hollywood to develop a herd mentality, and it's also very easy to punish people who fall out of line. There is a conservative group in Hollywood called Friends of Abe - Abe being Abe Lincoln.
But interestingly, this group meets in secret. Some actors and screenwriters literally come to meetings in disguise because they have a Hollywood career, and they don't want to be blacklisted.
So, Hollywood has a blacklist. It's really unbelievable. But this is why their movies reflect this kind of parochial mentality because it's become a very parochial, intolerant place.
Barry Nussbaum: Well, your star is a major star in Hollywood, Jim Caviezel. He went on Mike Huckabee's show after the movie was completed. He made an interesting point that Americans seem to be willing to stand up in general for religious freedom, but Christians don't seem to be standing up saying, “Hey, stop killing Christians around the world just for being Christians.” Do you agree that your film is casting a light on that and asking the question - Why aren't Christians standing up for Christians?
Dinesh D'Souza: We certainly did want to highlight religious freedom issues, not just abroad, but also here in America. The film doesn't deal with coronavirus directly. But it is striking that the most severe religious freedom restrictions have been justified by appealing to the virus, and churches get singled out.
For example, one of the points that Justice Gorsuch made in the recent Supreme Court opinion when he was talking about Governor Cuomo he said, "Listen, Governor Cuomo, all the stuff that you like, which is bicycle shops, gyms, health food stores, Wal-Mart, all the places that you seem to approve of that are part of you may call it the secular lifestyle.
All those things are allowed. Then the things that you don't like, like religious freedom, are singled out for you as being kind of non-essential." So, this is the point here that religious freedom has now become a real issue in America.
One of the things that Cyrus, the director, and the writer brought to the film was the issue of the underground Christian community in Iran. The way that the plot unfolds, there's a kind of Christian underground that meets in secret that helps the main character, the American Caviezel, who finds himself trapped in prison in Iran.
So evidently, the film is being talked about and sort of distributed, you may say, below the surface in Iran today. I think this gives it an added urgency and relevance.
Barry Nussbaum: Well, you raise an interesting point about the fact that Hollywood and the media are on one side, and truth and freedom seems to be on the other side.
We've had a really clear example of that while your movie is being distributed two horrific possible mass murders - had they been given the opportunity - both Iranian members of the IRGC, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, have just been killed.
Instead of being applauded as not living members of the human race anymore, the left in the United States has just gone crazy. They are condemning anybody that's supportive of their elimination, from Trump to Israel and so on.
What happened to the idea of fairness without a religious proclivity being part of the equation? In other words, these two guys are big mass killers, and yet they're being mourned, and their victims aren't.
Dinesh D'Souza: We're seeing a very strange phenomenon worldwide. Which is to say the kind of strange bedfellow’s alliance between the secular left in the West and radical Islam. At first glance, this would seem inexplicable because the radical Muslims don't approve of much of the agenda of the secular left. They are anti-gay.
They don't support transgender or any of that. So how could the most illiberal people in the world be united somehow with the left? Well, what is the common basis? Well, the common basis isn't just antagonism to Trump or antagonism to current American foreign policy.
But let's look, for example, at one of Ayatollah Khomeini's biggest slogans. When he first came to power in 1979, they would burn the American flag, and they would say death to America. Well, all you have to do today is look at Antifa, Black Lives Matter, on an American campus, or in major cities like Portland.
What are they doing? Burning the American flag and chanting ‘Death to America’. So, you've got two camps that seem to have nothing to do with each other. But it's very clear they identify America, not just Trump's America, but America itself as their ideological opponent. This is the basis for their political unity.
Barry Nussbaum: Boy, is that the truth, and it's very saddening that even the Democrats at the top of the ticket in the top of the party won't condemn it. For some reason, that is some kind of First Amendment free speech demonstration.
So, your movie comes out. There was a commentary by you on the Laura Ingraham Show and you mentioned this a minute ago, that most terrorists in the movies are Russian, or they live on an island. You forgot the volcano ones.
There's always a villain that lives under a fake volcano. I don't know. I just haven't seen that many villains living in volcanoes. But the truth is, there are no terrorists like the real-world terrorists. Like your movie talks about. Is that a religious thing or are we just bending over backward to kiss the tushy of a religion that wants us wiped out? What do you make of that?
Dinesh D'Souza: Well, you've noticed that the left - this goes back even to 9/11 - has objected vehemently to the phrase Islamic terrorist. They don't like the bringing together of those two words. They don't mind terrorist extremists.
But somehow, they want to disconnect the idea of Islam from the idea of terrorism. Even though it is a fact that it was Islamic terrorists who took down, for example, the World Trade Center and did those bombings of the Pentagon were motivated by their own testimony - by Islam. If you ask them, “why do you do it?”
They'd be like, "Well, Allah told us to do it, and we're doing it in the name of Allah." This is true of terrorist acts in many countries. So, no one is saying that the majority of terrorists, let's say worldwide, are Muslim. But Islam is indeed an important motivation for terrorist acts around the world.
You'd have to say that this is not true of other religions. So, for example, you could find someone who's done a terrorist bombing and say, well, that guy happens to be a Christian. But even in that case, it's not that the guy was motivated by Christianity.
He's not doing it for a Christian purpose. It could be, for example, that he objected to what happened in Waco, objected to Ruby Ridge or some other political motive generally. So, I think what's happening is an attempt to evade the simple truth that Islam today is a motivation for radical people to commit terrorist acts.
In the movie Infidel, we also deal with the issue of honor killing in America. There have been reports of honor killings in America, again, in the name of Islam. The idea here is that family members who are seen as a sort of betraying Islamic values bring shame on the parents.
Who, therefore, take it out, you may say, by violence on sometimes their own children. So, this is a rather shocking practice and, again, has been really downplayed in the media for the same reason to sort of politically protect the idea of Islam.
Barry Nussbaum: From my perspective as a father of a daughter, I'm horrified by what you just said, not because you're saying it, but because it's absolutely one hundred percent true and it's pervasive.
There's a chilling line in the movie itself when the bad guy, Ramsey, who is a Hezbollah terrorist, says to Caviezel's character. They're going to shoot him with a firing squad. I won't say what happened and ruin it.
He says, "We're not afraid to die. That's why we're going to win." I know from my extensive history with Israel that's what the Israelis hear from the Palestinian leaders all the time. How do you defeat a culture like that that can't wait to blow themselves up?
Dinesh D'Souza: I think we have to ask whether this is true. It certainly is true of these young men who get recruited by the Iranian Mullahs and by others to go blow yourself up. You're going to have immediate entry into paradise and so on.
But it's interesting that not a single member, to my knowledge, of the Iranian Revolutionary Council or the Iranian parliament, that those guys aren't blowing themselves up. You don't see any Mullahs driving their cars into a cement wall.
They seem to be very concerned with staying in power, protecting their safety, enhancing their sphere of influence, and so on. So, it looks to me like they are conning these young people. Making them, their pawns of martyrdom, if you will.
But they themselves have no intention of being martyrs. I think in a weird way, what that means is that a country like Iran can be deterred because those guys know it's not true that the Iranian parliament goes, “Oh, sure, wipe us out.
We're waiting for you to do it. We'd be happy for you to do it.” No, they're not happy for us to do it. They're clinging on to their life, their power, and their possessions, the same as everybody else.
Barry Nussbaum: So, Infidel has this important message, and as you've said, it's a message that I don't know if the mainstream is ready for, but they need to see it.
Obviously, mainstream Hollywood has avoided the subject matter like the plague. Do you think Infidel could be the start of a dam breaking and the truth finally coming out? Whether it's fictionalized or documentarily produced, to tell the truth about what we in the West are facing?
Dinesh D'Souza: Yeah, I mean, Infidel is a feature film in that sense. It’s different than the five other movies I have produced. All of which are political documentaries. The important thing about a feature film is it casts light on a subject, but it doesn't take a position in a sense.
It's a feature film, a story. It's a narrative. It helps you to think about things, but it's also entertainment. You want to enjoy being part of this drama, and we have a wonderful international cast. Claudia Karvan from Australia, a Turkish actor, is playing the bad guy.
A very strong, diverse cast of people treating this international topic. So, the best you can do with a feature film is you want people to connect the fictional world that the film draws them into with the real world they live in. B
But I think it's important for those of us who are sort of, you may almost say, who don't like Hollywood's propagandistic messages to make different types of movies. We're hoping my wife, Debbie, and I, that Infidel is sort of the first of mainstream feature films that are different in its values and emphasis than the typical fare that one gets from Hollywood.
Barry Nussbaum: I would amend your comment, if I may, by saying you're incredibly brave, as is your wife, to go out there and make a statement like this, knowing certain people are going to trash it just because it doesn't meet the mainstream media narrative.
Bless you, for making it. It is such an important message. It's one of the messages that we do weekly shows on here at American Truth Project because we think the message is that important. Which is to just tell the truth about what we're dealing with.
Dinesh D'Souza: Well, I appreciate that very much. We don't have the typical Hollywood sort of infrastructure of massive studios and so on. So, we run a small team. It's a dozen of us or so who get these films made.
We wanted to make this film at a level that could compete with the best that Hollywood has to offer. In other words, not make a niche movie that people feel, oh, I got to go out and support Dinesh because he's making movies. I want to encourage him.
No, I want to make movies that are comparable to really good movies that Hollywood makes and do it sensibly without actually spending the 40 or 50 million dollars that they often spend on movies that are a bust. So, we do these movies at a relatively modest price but do it in a way that makes economic sense, and then we distribute them all over the world.
Barry Nussbaum: Well, Dinesh, tell our audience how they can watch Infidel.
Dinesh D'Souza: So, the website is called Infidel911.com. Infidel911.com and that lists all the various platforms. There's a multitude of them, including, by the way, cable platforms.
So, the movie is now just out on DVD, also available for download and purchase. So, you can buy the movie by downloading. It very soon it'll be available to rent. So, you'll be able to download it, rent it for the day, or two days and watch it with your family.
It's perfect for the Christmas season. It couldn't be timelier. It's a story of a man standing up for his faith. So, it's well-timed as a Christmas movie. It's also a really great gift to drop into someone's stocking.
Barry Nussbaum: I like it, and ATP recommends it. Go watch Dinesh D'Souza's new movie. It's fantastic. Thank you very much for coming on, and I hope you'll come back soon.
Those of you who haven't subscribed yet to our text message alert system, text the word TRUTH to 88202, and you'll be automatically subscribed. Thanks again, Dinesh. Thank you for joining us on ATP Report. I'm Barry Nussbaum.