Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Four lions

"Four Lions" is a UK produced film written by Sundance Film Festival which is now out on DVD. This is the plot line taken from IMDB:

In a British city, four men have a secret plan. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is disillusioned about the treatment of Muslims around the world and is determined to become a soldier. This is the most exciting idea Waj (Kayvan Novak) has ever heard. Better still it's a no brainer because Omar does his thinking for him. Opposed to Omar and everyone else on earth is the white Islamic convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay). He'd realize he joined the cell to channel his nihilism - If he had half the self knowledge of a duck. Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) is the odd man out. He can make a bomb - but he can't blow himself up just now coz his sick dad has "started eating newspaper". Instead he's training crows to fly bombs through windows. This is what Omar has to deal with. They must strike a decisive blow on their own turf but can any of them strike a match without punching himself in the face?

So basically it's about 4 asian guys who are kinda dumb but are planning to blow something up .... for whatever reason that might be. 

The title is a pun of the "three lions" that appear on the England football emblem:

This is the trailer:

I didn't watch this film nor am I planning to. Although it's production is by non-Muslims, they proclaim it is not meant to be an attack on Islam. An I believe them. But the problem is that many young British muslims flocked to the Cinemas soon after its release to watch the film. And many people I know repeatedly watched it and have now purchased the DVD.

From the producer's point of view, the film is meant to be an insight into a "terrorist's" life and get the message across that they are just "normal" guys.. with a hidden agenda. The fundamental problem with this is that it desensitizes the idea of a terrorist. It shows Muslims and non-Muslims alike that they could be somebody you know, someone "normal" and makes the general public paranoid and suspicious of Muslims they know.

The idea of someone planning to take someone's life, innocent or not, should not be mocked. It is completely wrong, it goes against humanity and moreover, it goes against Islam. The Quran says :

"Fight against those who fight against you." i.e. if someone starts a war on you, don't just sit there you defend yourself. That is in the literal sense of a physical war against you. And it also says fight against them in the same way that the fight you. Islam is a fair religion, and Allah is the knower of all things, the wise.

Another problem with this movie is the ending. They do manage to blow something up and in the end it's the practicing, religious brother of Waj who gets caught and sent down for the bombing. He also happens to have a beard. This sends the message out that if you practice your faith, you will be labelled as a terrorist. But if you are one of those "normal" guys, no-one will suspect you, even the Police won't think you did it.

And this is the stereotype that most Muslims are screaming to get away from. The word Islam itself means peace and submission (to God), but thanks to a few misguided Muslims, all of us are being branded as "terrorists." And this film didn't exactly help to remove that stereotype. I'm not judging those who went to watch it, but I think sometimes the youth of today just need to think about the underlying messages the media are feeding us and think about the impact of this on the Ummah as a whole. Instead of flocking to watch it, we should have protested and stopped its release. I know it's too late now, but I haven't seen a single FB page or whatever condemning the film- quite the contrary.

I  understand the film is meant to be funny- but I'm not laughing.


Alia said...

I have to say, the representation of would-be terrorists as "normal" guys really rubs me the wrong way. I can't say with authority, since I haven't seen the movie (and this is the first I'm even hearing about it) but based on the premise alone, I am deeply disturbed. The buzz word in the US right now is "Islamiphobia" and it could not be a more apt term for the public mood. All we need is a couple of nuts making a movie about things they don't really understand, to further misrepresent what terrorists are all about. Doesn't anyone remember Timothy McVeigh? Oh wait, no. Because he was a Christian.

Under Urooba's Umbrella! said...

Yup, I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Why must they portray terrorists as 'normal folk'?
Wouldn't that create more of a negative stigma around 'normal' Muslims? It's bad enough as it is!