JIHAD – a story of the others
The Bafta-nominated film by Deeyah Khan. ©Fuuse Films
the one most responsible for spreading jihad ism throughout the world (abu muntasir)
deeyah: i wanted to know why so many young people are interested
deeyah: i’ve been horified to see people with backgrounds like mine join jihadi movements.. i decided to meet them.. i wanted to know why..they had been drawn into extremism.. only by understanding the reasons can we begin to challenge this violent movement..
4 min – alyas karmani was one of his loyal followers: i found in abu an inspirational person.. a role model i’d been looking for all my life
usama hasan: he was my hero.. brave.. educated..intelligent.. articulated..
alyas: they were offering something i’d never had before: a family.. understanding..belonging… this is where the journey starts…
5 min – abu: i started to wake up the people..
6 min – alyas: everyone had to imitate him..
7 min – munir zamir: this man was famous.. i had to meet him.. made it my mission to track him down.. he was calm and considerate.. all dressed in black.. i was in awe
alyas: we felt unique.. we had a uniform.. a dress code.. no one like us.. it was part of the rejection of mainstream western dress
8 min – alyas: a trick..brown envelopes.. silly stuff.. just playing silly games with people.. and i gave up the best years of my life.. to them..
10 min – on being spurred on by footage.. of war in bosnia… shahid butt: giving out videos… of footage .. of a bloody masacre.. showed.. pregnant women w stomachs cut open.. all kinds of stuff…. traveled to bosnia in an aide convoy.. when you actually see physically.. when you smell the stench.. hear the screams.. that’s when something just clicked in my heart/head.. i haven’t got money/food.. but i can fight.. defend you.. so i decided to stay to defend them
11 min – deeyah: shahid was convicted of terrorism in yemen.. he said he was forced to confes.. he says he wasn’t involved with isis.. for him.. fighting was a noble act to help other muslims… a distinction also made by other former fighters
shahid: it’s our ambition.. it’s part of our deen (way of life).. we want an islamic state.. we want sharia to prevail.. we want everyone to live in peace… when you’re fighting in the battle field.. and they’re there in front of you.. it’s a diff story.. then it’s kill or be killed.. but once you’ve subdued your enemy.. he’s at your mercy.. that’s when the true character mujahid (fighter) comes out.. that’s when you show compassion
12 min – munir: my story as i look back as a young man.. i just had so much hate in me.. raging inside me at that age was anger. . rage.. disaffection.. i wanted to vent that so badly.. i wanted to kill or be killed.. so my wish is at the time.. whether i died on the field of battle and i killed as many non believers as i could who opposed me on that field.. i’d a liked to have been on the streets of afghanistan.. to have dealt with russian soldiers…i wanted to look the enemy in the eye.. i wanted to meet them on the field of battle
13 min – alyas: if we go back into the 80s and 90s.. there were viruses.. these were viruses you could say infected the muslim community.. one of them was the virus that might is right.. that the only way you could achieve change is through violence.. that virus .. was already there.. we carried that virus further.. and then you could say.. we infected a generation with that virus.. it wasn’t that this is a good thing to do.. this is the best thing to do.. the most noble thing to do.. everything that you’re doing.. should be culminating in that.. jihad.. and to die as a martyr
14 min – deeyah: a message spread throughout the world by extremist clerics.. speakers like anwar al-awlaki.. (2010) .. given a stage to speak in britain…. in past few years.. had spread faster and faster..
looking at their pasts
15 min – alyas: in s england i grew up in a white working class community.. i had no interest in islam whatsoever.. i hated being brown…. being muslim.. because where i grew up there was non stop racism.. brown people seen as second/lesser.. nothing to celebrate who you were.. esp when everyone around you was white.. you wanted to fit in.. you fit in how..? by overcompensating.. over exaggerating.. and still you’re not accepted..
16 min – munir: i had serious issues coming to terms with the way i looked.. the physical impairment from birth.. i’d walk home as a 6 yr old.. sometimes chased/heckled.. about handicap (arm).. i heard: paki.. go home.. religiously for the first 16 yrs of my life… i felt so shunned by everybody.. so alone/isolated.. i just felt like death would have been a really good option.. i didn’t have a passion for life.. martyrdom.. the notion of the shaheed (martyr).. the mujahid (fighter).. they became inspiring.. they very much became enabling.. i think for me.. i was unmistakably drawn to it..
deeyah: munir says he was never a core member of an extremist group but became sucked into the mentality by listening to their preachers.. he was further radicalized by images of wars against muslims and the deaths of innocent muslim civilians abroad…
17 min – munir: when people are able to relay to you powerful stories of suffering/oppression from around the world.. and they can use one common bonding theme.. that these people were muslims that were suffering.. then i realized.. i feel exactly like those people.. i feel as abused as they do.. as helpless as they do.. and you just transfer that angst.. that sense of grievance.. for someone like me.. who didn’t even know where i fit in… fighting for the path of allah was almost a transendal emotion
18 min – abu: born in 59.. war with india happened in 65.. so i was 5 .. and i remember when i was 8 taking a vow to kill a hindu.. any random hindu.. then the 71 war happened.. pakistan/bangledesh.. which was very graphic.. in terms of teh atrocities commited.. dogs eating dead bodies.. people walking around with bullet wounds crying for help.. my neighbors taken away and shot pleading help us.. then.. when i was 11 or 12.. that’s when my older brother was murdered.. that very much affected me .. i was very close to him.. so i lost 22 of my relatives and i hear horror stories about them.. and although it was 30-40 yrs ago.. it affects me more now.. because i can visualize.. imagine.. dozen taken out of houses.. throats slit..
19 min – deeyah: i was beginning to hear the deeper reasons why some people might be susceptible to extremism.. but i also wanted to talk to ordinary young muslims.. i wanted to hear their perspectives.. alyas offered to help me out.. he now works with young muslims
zekarias negussue : there is one emotion that comes out of it and that is anger.. we are all angry that we’re all being victimized.. stopped/searched.. at airports.. and forced to give our dna’s simply because we walk in with a .. beard.. or on the street for being black.. wearing a hoodie.. you attack people who behead soldiers on streets of london.. yet you (uk govt/citizens/media) don’t talk about us/uk soldiers who go into villages and murder innocent people.. by the 100s.. 1000s
20 min – zekarias: that makes young people feel isolated/alienated/angry.. it could convert into something positive.. which would be activism.. which would be campaigning to make sure the govt is held responsible.. for certain policy measures where they exterminate muslim people.. young muslim people particularly… or.. it can be converted into negative.. and that’s where you have groups like.. extremism/violence
deeyah: zekarias is not a student.. anti-racist.. campaigner..
21 min – zekarias: i was raised in n london.. back then it wasn’t gentrified.. so a lot of middle class white people and very racist.. we used to be called niggers/coons/blackies.. you name it.. and i became aware of my race/ethnicity at the age of five.. i knew what it felt to be ashamed of the things.. of my nose.. or my lips.. or the darkness of my skin.. or the texture of my hair.. i knew exactly what it felt to be like them… my dream is to see the american empire fall.. and i genuinely mean that.. for all the harm they’ve done to civilizations to people.. to communities/countries/states..
22 min – alyas: biggest discussions i have.. is really about them finding out who they are.. it’s hard being young.. it’s even harder being young and muslim.. even harder being young and muslim and alone.. and even harder being young muslim alone in the war on terror.. it’s harder for you to get the same job as your white counterpart.. even if you’re a graduate.. you’re living in poorer areas.. more likely to be unemployed.. to be stopped/searched by police..
no matter what you try to do to fit in.. to be a part of society.. you are always being othered.. and seen as an outsider.. and that is really deeply unsettling..
23 min – (birmingham) waseem iqbal:
when i’m in england.. i’m a paki.. that’s what i get called.. and when i go to pakistan they’re like.. oh you’re british..so i really feel like i belong on an airplane.. somewhere inbetween.. just hovering.. that’s where i belong.. that’s the middle ground
waseem: because i feel like i’m not going to have the chance to have certain jobs and that.. you’re just programmed to think like… you know.. you’re not good enough to have that certain/type of job.. if i was younger and said i want to be a politician.. they would have laughed at me.. say.. come on brother .. you’re a paki from bosilee.. that’s not for you.. why couldn’t i be.. why couldn’t i be the pm if i wanted to.. because i’m from boselite (?)… but automatically.. even we feel like that.. even we think like that.. if one of my friends wanted to do the same thing.. me.. having that programmed into my mind.. all that time.. i’d probably say the same thing to him.. come on bro don’t be silly…. you can own a qu(?) shop.. drive a taxi.. that’s the stereotypical thing.. people are made to believe that’s what we’re going to do.. that’s just what we do..
24 min – waseem: you’re told what to dream about.. you’re told.. this is what you can achieve.. you being what you are .. the religion/skin color.. and from the area you are.. this is your limit.. the sky is not the limit for you..
25 min – deeyah: saeed told me despite charge facing.. never had intention of going to a training camp.. he said his cousin had tried to radicalize him.. he said he had watched videos of extremist preachers like al-awlaki.. intended to have a strong impact on vulnerable young people like him..
saeed ahmed: i was feeling emotions watching these videos.. watch the taliban..alqaeda.. they think you’ll have some sympathy.. these are not hard to find.. representing islam.. that’s how we feel… but later on.. start understanding.. this is not how it’s supposed to be..
26 min – deeyah: is it heroic… saeed: that’s how it makes you feel.. you feel like a hero deeyah: what was your life like at the time saeed: it was boring.. i didn’t really go out.. others go out to play football. i wasn’t that type of person.. i used to just be at home.. that’s the opening of heart deeyah: did you feel like a hero in your life before that.. saeed: no.. i didn’t feel like i really achieved anything.. going out and fighting felt like.. that’s the best achievement to do .. like if you achieve martyrdom than that’s the best thing.. deeyah: was your cousin nice to you saeed: yeah.. he was really nice to me.. being with him.. going out with him.. it was a diff feeling.. something that we’ve never done before.. deeyah: if you could be anything in the world .. what would you do saeed: i don’t really know (same look on face ..same answer.. as waseem)
27 min – alyas: the biggest one.. you cannot dishonor the family.. you can’t make them ashamed of you.. and this puts loads of expectations on young people.. that they feel that they cannot meet.. that they cannot achieve those expectations.. so often.. they lead a double life..
28 min – deeyah: i felt this was starting to get to the heart of why so many young people are joining to extremism..
they crave acceptance and they don’t feel they belong.. either in the family .. or in the wider society..
extremist groups exploit this
we all do
alyas: when someone for the first time starts to understand you.. emotionally support you…. that arm around you.. show compassion/love for you.. this is enormously powerful and compelling..
we unconditionally accept you.. brilliant..that’s so powerful
alyas: i always say to bastani parents..tell your children you love them and that you’re proud of them.. because if you don’t do that you’re actually creating massive rejection..
deeyah: so how do women..?
29 min – yasmin mulbocus: this was a group that wanted to make history.. our message.. our visibility was powerful.. at that time.. saying women were part of this great structure.. if i look at myself at that time it was like.. just everything was disgusting/dirty.. we portrayed..termed.. the dirty (cofar..?) system
deeyah: one day something happened when she realized how extreme she’d become yasmin: i think the striking thing was i was called in at school.. and the teachers said.. we’d like to chat with you .. i know you’re good people.. your child came up and said.. it’s ok for us to kill non muslims…. and i thought.. oh my god.. what is happening here.. deeyah: she started to find her way out of extreme group/mindset.. but i still wanted to know why she joined in first place.. she told me.. before joined the extremists.. she had been victim of sexual abuse.. she told police.. but case dropped for lack of evidence..
30 min – yasmin: so imagine the hurt/hate i felt.. not only that .. the criminal justice system had let me down.. because my case didn’t go thru court.. you are by yourself.. you’ve got to carry all those issues into your life.. where do you get the justice.. i wanted to see implementation of the islamic state.. to see my perpetrator.. to be accountable for what he did.. my innocence was executed… i wanted to see the pleasure of him being executed in front of my very eyes
deeyah: i asked yasmin what she would say to her 20 yr old self yasmin: girl.. you just gotta have a mind of your own.. be critical.. don’t let anyone brainwash you.. no matter what.. i love this saying: the choices we make dictates the life that we lead.. islam is a way of living and not a way of death..
31 min – alyas: on no place to talk about sex.. an important thing..
32 min – alyas: talking to my wife.. this is all really about sex.. everything comes out of this.. these guys just want girls.. guys do things for girls.. it’s a serious point.. if you grow up with no sex before marriage.. no girlfriends.. in a sexualized society.. a hate.. that you can’t do that..
33 min – alyas: now i’m a powerless person.. no girls looking at me.. but you know what .. i’m a mujahid now.. and girls will now look at me.. and want to become my bride..
34 min – deeyah – what abu told her about leaving extremism.. on doubts creeping in the 90s.. realizing.. they were muslims fighting muslims.. corruption/power battles amongst leaders.. in end.. going to battle.. thinking defening against corruptive govt
abu: i saw the corruption .. privileged diet.. raising money.. 1/2 going to commander’s sons.. justifying it.. saying have to support commanders..
but nobody asks you.. but why does the fight have to carry on…
35 min – abu: the one story that affects me the most.. in the jungles.. when i met two brothers.. 13 yrs old.. i tried to visualize my son and daughter in the same position.. it’s not the suffering of being in the jungle and living in the dirt and eating poor food.. it’s the idea/picture of them..my son/daughter.. carrying guns to be maimed/blown up at the behast of leaders/commanders who fight for a false ideal.. an unwinnable war.. and those two boys came to me.. my children may not want to go to school and run away from homeworks.. they came to me and they begged me to take them with me.. and they said.. they were not lying.. you can tell when people are lying.. 13 yr olds telling me.. i just want to go to school.. we can make the difference and we didn’t .. i’d rather live as slaves.. and have the kids go to school.. i don’t want this force.. what is this.. honor.. i’m happy to be a coward… perhaps they’re not alive today.. already dead .. because very soon after that was the next meeting and the commander lined up all the platoon commanders (8 in platoon about 20 platoons avg age about 15).. and these two 13 yr olds were carrying granade launches..machine guns.. 13 yr olds.. and i’m over 40 yrs old.. dad of 12.. still living… still smiling.. going to parks.. if i can i should die to give them a chance for peace.. and i didn’t.. so i withdrew completely.. but the commander lined us all up and made a special point to look at me.. telling all the 120.. you have to learn to kill your rival because they have killed your people… anyway.. that’s why i stopped.. it’s all foolishness..
40 min – munir: for me to accept that i don’t need to be ashamed of how i look.. my greatest jihad is coming to terms with me..
44 min – deeyah: even my friends said i shouldn’t try to understand extremists.. that we should just let them go and kill themselves.. but here is what i’ve learned:
radicalization is about pain.. the pain of young people facing racism..exclusion from society.. isolation from the opposite sex..overwhelming pressures from families/communities.. a crisis of identity and feeling powerless/insignificant..
yes.. many had material comforts.. but i believed
too many of them live lives of emotional poverty..
what i also found.. is that people can come out of extremism.. and rebuild their lives.. so i said to my friends.. there is hope and we shouldn’t give up..
we need to look beyond what divides us and come together to create a society where we all belong..
45 min – abu: why i am not arrested.. i don’t know.. i hope i am not arrested.. because i want to do much good in society.. i want to educate people…to tell others how to be better at being at home in your community.. and if you don’t want to do that.. people decide it’s not worth it they are too nervous.. do what you want is legal..just.. fair.. i have my reward w god .. whether you kill me or let me live.. i will die w a clean conscience.. and that was islam is about
gershenfeld sel.. only works if it’s all of us..
46 min – abu: i cannot hate.. i forgive my brother’s murderers.. if you don’t forgive me and want to punish.. i will take it
48 min – deeyah: have you forgiven yourself abu: i don’t know.. how do you answer that
Daniel Wickham (@DanielWickham93) tweeted at 5:35 AM – 16 Feb 2017 :
Utterly horrific. This is what Saudi Arabia, with British and American weaponry, has been doing to Yemen for nearly two straight years. https://t.co/S3l3lIZ1GD (http://twitter.com/DanielWickham93/status/832206790800637952?s=17)
Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) tweeted at 3:11 AM – 17 Feb 2017 :
Awful bombings in Pakistan https://t.co/GiGR7k2OQz and Iraq https://t.co/DW1Y6KqNS7 remind us Muslims today are most often terrorism victims https://t.co/YgcuUhuzUW (http://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/832532895688450048?s=17)
queen noor rt
Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) tweeted at 4:04 AM – 18 Feb 2017 :
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Islam is not the source of “terrorism” https://t.co/igNJdyViLwhttps://t.co/hYuvtse4Qk (http://twitter.com/AJEnglish/status/832908536246104065?s=17)
fb share sandy:
How Flipping The Script Helped Keep Young Muslims From Joining ISIS
Love this so much. https://t.co/gcWhywrjZn
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/HelenWalters/status/871350603498348545
TRAILER: Why do Muslims commit terrorists attacks? We asked comedian Gus Khan, because he’s a Muslim init