After the shock of the Paris attacks, time has come to educate ourselves on the path to radicalisation that has led young Muslims and converts to wage terror against civilian populations both inside and outside the “Muslim world”. I remain truly convinced that only when we understand the human factor behind the actions perpetrated by these young men, will we be able to devise effective policy and actions to end the vicious cycle of violence often instigated by a mixture of ill-thought foreign policy from the West and brutal oppression from authoritarian regimes.
And I don’t know anything better than DOCUMENTARIES to convey Human stories.
Return to Homs:
–> To gain understanding on the rise of Islamic ideology in Syria and how it became a liberation movement.
In 2011, at the very start of the Syrian Revolution, filmmaker Talal Derki started following two close friends Basset and Ossama as they take part in the uprising against Bashar Al Assad’s regime.Basset, 19 is a local football star turned singer for the revolution. His songs gather crowds in the back streets of Homs, as youngsters chant their dreams of liberation from their oppressor, Assad. Ossama is 24, he is a media activist who uses his camera to capture the revolution. As the Syrian army starts brutally clamping down on the protests, hopes of a peaceful liberation shatter and the two engage in the armed rebellion.
Watch on VOD here: https://jman.tv/film/5145/Return+to+Homs
Warriors from the North:
–> To understand why young Muslims from Europe leave to fight with Islamic rebels in war-torn countries.
First-hand testimony of a Danish Somalian boy, Abukar, who fell victim to the recruiters from the Somalian militant group Al-Shabaab.
The film is the product of Danish-Somali journalist Nasib Farab and journalist and documentary filmmaker Søren Steen Jespersen and has a very factual almost neutral approach to the subject matter. It thus allows a calm reflection on the subtle perceptions that make so many boys such as him susceptible to the lure of the “Holy war”.
My Brother the Islamist:
–> To understand what draws young Europeans to the theories radical Islam.
British tree surgeon turned filmmaker Rob Leech tries to understand why his step-brother Richard became a radical Muslim in six months and how he has to come to hate the society he was brought up in. The film is told through Rob’s perspective as he quite clearly fails to connect with the new person his brother has become. I found myself wishing I was in the middle of that group of converts to challenge their ideology from a Muslim’s point of view, but the point is less about winning the argument than seeing their narrative unfold. What the documentary captures successfully is the process through which these men start distancing themselves with the society that surrounds them to strictly and unwaveringly follow a path they knew nothing about six months prior.
Watch on VOD here: No VOD link available but you might find versions of it online… A sequel “My brother the Terrorist” is also available, should you want to get a full picture of the transition from disillusion to radicalisation to course of action.
Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr
–> To understand the human aspect of post-terrorism policies that allow arrest and incarceration without a fair trial.
Captured by American forces in Afghanistan at the tender age of fifteen, Canadian citizen Omar Khadr spent thirteen years locked behind bars in Guantanamo before being transferred to a maximum security prison in Canada and released on bail in May 2015. Getting to know the young man behind the convicted terrorist is fascinating in itself. It is a chilling reminder that there is a human being behind that label, and Omar is by all means a unique individual. Hearing the first-hand account of all the men involved in Omar’s arrest, incarceration and treatment brings the same kind of humanity to the people that Islamic fundamentalists are working to kill.
You can also watch “You don’t like the truth, 4 days inside Guantanamo” http://activpost-vod.muvies.com/reviews/3613-you-don-t-like-the-truth-4-days-inside-guantanamo
Among the Believers
Disclaimer: I didn’t watch this documentary but I am dying to see it. The following are not my own words but #CPH:DOX own presentation of the documentary.
In Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, the charismatic Islamist Abdul Aziz Ghazi sits on the floor in the largest of the Koranic schools of which he is the spiritual leader. Filmmakers Hemal Trivedi and Mohamed Ali Naqvi follows Ghazi’s Islamic sect, the Red Mosque, and the children who attend his school. Wherever the movement takes hold, the Islamists close the regular schools and instead offer their own, free Koranic schools, which slowly radicalise the children and youth. But it is far from all Pakistanis who agree with Ghazi, and when thousands of demonstrators and the army clash with the Islamists, things quickly become violent. A shocking insider report from a society at odds with itself, and an important film in a time when the media coverage is overflowing with atrocities, but rarely shows where radicalisation comes from.
Watch the trailer here, VOD link to follow when it s available: http://www.amongthebelieversfilm.com/#trailer-section