What Is Jihad? The Never-Ending Fight Between Filmmakers And Extremists

Posted on April 28, 2014

By Hasan Zia:

Many movies have been made taking Muslims and terrorism as the backdrop of the plot. This is has been going on for a while, but very few have been made to show the real Islam. The Indian film industry has been dealing with Islamic topics and they do it in a way which lands them into a controversy.

The filmmakers, directors and producers who make art films or who are famous for making message-oriented movies are now catching up with themes like Jihad, Islam etc. But the movie which comes out shows that terrorism is linked to Islam, fuelling controversy. However, some films like Dhoka, Mukhbir and the latest Ya Rab were made to show that some evil minded extremists who call themselves as Muslims brainwash the young Muslims according to their manipulated wrong and violent ideology related to a part under Islam called as Jihad, which is now endorsed as terrorism by media.

Jihad is one of the pillars of Islam and comes under principles of worship like Namaz which is performed to seek closeness to God. Unfortunately it has been misinterpreted or to say erroneously presented by extremists that it looks like violence is inherent in Islam. Everybody knows that it is just the opposite. However, cinema has a very strong impact on viewers and wrong portrayal of the religion can change the mindset of anybody.

jihad against terrorism

Recently the controversy around a movie called ‘Ya Rab’, the subtitle to which was “Jihad Against Terrorism” exposed the fact that instead of taking out the right and true message from the movie, people start bullying on what they think are the negative points.
In Pakistan many terrorist organizations runs in a place called as ‘Madarsa’ but actually a Madarsa refers to a school where both Islamic and worldly knowledge is given to Muslim children.Secondly, it shows that some religious leaders are corrupt and spread their extremist ideology among the public, evoking radicalism. But if we honestly look at those points it happens in reality not only in films. Young and unemployed poor Muslims have been moulded to pursue the path of violence.

A Wednesday, written and directed by Neeraj Pandey, went on to become a box office superstar, purely based on word of mouth. The film tells the story of a retired cop, played by Anupam Kher and his last big case that takes place on a Wednesday. A man, played by Naseeruddin shah, plants bombs across the city of Mumbai and threatens to detonate them unless jailed terrorists are freed. Who is this man, what is his agenda and will he get away with it? The film is a taut thriller, and one reason why it was such a hit that apart from the brilliant writing and performances like Naseeruddin Shah’s character resonates with most of us.

Black Friday is another terrific example. In 1993, bombs ripped through Bombay destroying buses, buildings, people disintegrated, and others were maimed and injured. Hundreds died, many more injured and it left the city numb with rage, grief and disbelief. Anurag Kashyap’s film based on the book by Hussain Zaidi tells the story of the blasts and its investigations from different perspectives. Raw and gritty, the film makes for compelling viewing.

New York, the 2009 Katrina-John and Neil starrer was based on the 9/11 attack in New York City. The movie showed how the attack changed the lives of the three friends as it had done for the rest of the world. Forced to become a terrorist after becoming the victim of racism and the cruelties done by the officials, John’s character Sam ends up destroying his life. Caught up in all the hatred are his wife and his best friend, who end up ruined by Sam’s decisions!

Kurbaan, the 2009 film that featured Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, was based on terrorism in general and Saif’s revenge from the US that killed his family once upon a time. A sleeper cell, an undercover agent and a heart broken used wife- this once again, focuses on how terrorism impacted the lives of the leads and numerous others in a negative way.

These movies have shown that how terrorist are made and are provoked to instigate the killing of innocents. Some unforgettable incidents like Babri Masjid case and Mumbai Bomb Blast have been showcased in the movie not to provoke people, but to tell people that these things are purely political and against every religion. These are the mind-games of the extremists which exist in every religion not only Muslims who like to spread hatred and envy for the people of other religions, creating divisions, clashes and riots.

Apart of few movies like Vishwaroopam, most controversial for its presentation and the research was not up to the mark, but the message was very clear that Islam and terrorism have no links. Movies based on the religion do not use the stereotypes of Muslims. It is the followers of extremism, radicalism and infidelity who enforce immoral ideologies on people- ideologies which are forbidden in Islam. Movies should be made on Gujarat riots too exposing the truth that extremism is the part of every religion but politically turned into a part of Muslims only.

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