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Islamic Terrorism in Film

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P u l p
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Re: Islamic Terrorism in Film

Postby P u l p » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:30 am

TychoCelchuu wrote:
Velvet Crowe wrote:Some were, most aren't. Western governments have had no part in creating groups like ISIS or Al-Qaeda directly.

I think you may need to take a slightly more nuanced look at history books. Or just watch Rambo III!


@Velvet Crowe:
No offence, but I think you should listen to him.
Again, no offence, but I seriously think you have no idea what western governments are doing to the rest of the world.

coffee
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Re: Islamic Terrorism in Film

Postby coffee » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:07 pm

Velvet Crowe wrote:
coffee wrote:Aren't those terrorists financed, equipped and trained by so very legal, modern, democratic and westphalian governments?


Some were, most aren't. Western governments have had no part in creating groups like ISIS or Al-Qaeda directly. If anything Saudi Arabian nobles are more responsible for funding them than the west is. I also doubt any western government would pay a terrorist to attack their own nation. I'm not sure what you mean by "westphalian," but I'm assuming you're not using the proper definition of it here.


Sorry but are you serious?

The 5 of top 6 weapon exporters are UN Security Council members. And the other one is Germany. (None of them are muslim countries btw as if the muslim world doesn't need to be represented in a "security" council.")

Anyway, the greatest killing machines were developed and used effectively by western countries.

Also Westphalian means the world we live in after the Peace of Westphalia, where "Nothing should authorise intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.". Terror is intervention without intervening and every terrorist organization is a puppet of one or more states. Terrorism is a tool for punishment, a mean for wasting the time, the energy and the budget of a developing country.
Last edited by coffee on Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mentaculus
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Re: Islamic Terrorism in Film

Postby Mentaculus » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:34 pm

Velvet Crowe wrote:I'm not the sort of person who believes Muslims to be inherently vile nor do I take much stock into anti-Muslim rhetoric, but are we going to act as if that Islamic terrorism isn't a thing? What's supposed to be the ideal in portraying it in film? Historically, the portrayal of Muslims in western film has been pretty one-dimensional often to the point of absurdity. But I do think there is merit in portraying its extremist elements in film and perhaps even beg the question of "why?"

...

I'd rather not this thread be a "is Islam bad?" thread (though I admit it'll probably turn out that way) so much as I wanted to ask about what would be an ideal and interesting way to explore this subject in film. Even if you view Islam as vile, would you not agree that the way film has portrayed it to be lacking, no?


Alright I'm gonna try to bring it back.

To be open I have a degree in religion, as well as film, so I'm biased towards the idea that a religious life is a noble effort, and a dedicated religious pursuit can do a great deal of good. I've thought about your prompt before - recently after viewing Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which painted a fairly bleak and base picture of Islamic Extremism, while that part of the narrative, at least, appealed to a fairly Trumpian wish fulfillment. It's one example of the larger generalized Western (Hollywood and Hollywood-adjacent) representation of Islamic violence as a kind of one-note assumption, without cause or pause or reflection as to what inherently in the religion that has the propensity to lead to violence.

There's this missing link somewhere in the logic chain:
A) I am a character defined by a religion (in this case, Islam),
B) BEATS ME - NO IDEA
C) Jihad and/or violence must be the answer

This leads to that weird creation of an Othering of the characters (e.g., Faceless Baddies, a la Taken or Rambo) that usually trickles into our political discourse, because it educates people inappropriately, based on a lapse of logic, not an affirmation of a truth needing to be addressed. A reaction to this is kinda what happened here in this thread: we focus on the socio-economic-political surroundings of the issue, instead of addressing the faith-person discourse that has a huge part to play in the problem. I just saw Iron Man 3 and can't help of think of the Mandarin - a comic stooge prop of the Western Military Industrial Complex using all the trappings of Islamic terror because we have no idea what that even means anymore outside of being a scare tactic. It's lost all gravity and meaning outside of 'I Represent Terror'. It's played for humor and maybe it should be.

Personally, I think this happens because if you're making a movie with a large budget, it would take Balls to represent Islam, in the West (with a history of questionable practices against the part of the world with majority Muslim populations, let's face it), with nuance: you are going to offend the faith, you are going to offend the political power players, it's a lose-lose scenario. That B above must be left blank because of the possible offense, itself a response to fear, and so the representation that follows continues to fuel the fire. I also thinks this occurs more often than we care to admit when religions of any stripe are depicted in film under pressure - just stereotypes lacking nuance.

I remember the film Traitor (which I need to revisit) attempted a delicate balance of a Muslim operative deep undercover in a terror cell, and it explores some of the missing pieces that lead Muslims towards violence with some integrity and delicacy to the issue.

But my personal opinion is that it's not the religion itself (any of them) that's the cause of the violence; there are people who are oppressed or violated or abused who also happen to be religious, and after a while, there's religious creep into the actual source of the problem, and the internal narrative and the scriptures are distorted. That's the kind of film I'd like to see - where a person's retreat into faith in hard times leads to a kind of well-informed madness, leading to violence. But that takes guts. Taking the religion out of it, white terrorist films (Taxi Driver, the upcoming Joker) certainly seem to address that trickle effect, and give some reflection to the overall problem of large-scale, fear-inspiring violence.

I love to quote scripture so here's some for thought:
2:208 O you who have believed, enter into peacefulness, the whole (of you), and do not ever follow the steps of As-shaytan (the Devil); surely he is an evident enemy to you.

Velvet Crowe
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Re: Islamic Terrorism in Film

Postby Velvet Crowe » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:03 am

P u l p wrote:I seriously think you have no idea what western governments are doing to the rest of the world.

coffee wrote:Sorry but are you serious?

The 5 of top 6 weapon exporters are UN Security Council members. And the other one is Germany. (None of them are muslim countries btw as if the muslim world doesn't need to be represented in a "security" council.")


And where's your evidence that any nation in the west directly funded and gave money to terrorist groups like the Al-Qaeda or ISIS? Just because the security council (which, mind you, isn't completely western) has exported a lot of weapons does not mean they're responsible for every terrorist group under the sun. You never made any reference to any specific terrorist group so I have no idea what you were referring to. America has historically supported certain terrorist groups but they haven't had a hand in directly sponsoring or backing any contemporary Islamic terrorist groups, unlike the nobles in Saudi Arabia which we have substantial evidence to prove they were a part of. The idea that America caused ISIS is a conspiracy theory at best. The most credit I can give to this idea is that American interventionism has given a means for these terrorist groups to gain power, but I find the notion they were the ones who directly created the groups to be absurd.

Mentaculus wrote:]

Alright I'm gonna try to bring it back.

To be open I have a degree in religion, as well as film, so I'm biased towards the idea that a religious life is a noble effort, and a dedicated religious pursuit can do a great deal of good. I've thought about your prompt before - recently after viewing Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which painted a fairly bleak and base picture of Islamic Extremism, while that part of the narrative, at least, appealed to a fairly Trumpian wish fulfillment. It's one example of the larger generalized Western (Hollywood and Hollywood-adjacent) representation of Islamic violence as a kind of one-note assumption, without cause or pause or reflection as to what inherently in the religion that has the propensity to lead to violence.

There's this missing link somewhere in the logic chain:
A) I am a character defined by a religion (in this case, Islam),
B) BEATS ME - NO IDEA
C) Jihad and/or violence must be the answer

This leads to that weird creation of an Othering of the characters (e.g., Faceless Baddies, a la Taken or Rambo) that usually trickles into our political discourse, because it educates people inappropriately, based on a lapse of logic, not an affirmation of a truth needing to be addressed. A reaction to this is kinda what happened here in this thread: we focus on the socio-economic-political surroundings of the issue, instead of addressing the faith-person discourse that has a huge part to play in the problem. I just saw Iron Man 3 and can't help of think of the Mandarin - a comic stooge prop of the Western Military Industrial Complex using all the trappings of Islamic terror because we have no idea what that even means anymore outside of being a scare tactic. It's lost all gravity and meaning outside of 'I Represent Terror'. It's played for humor and maybe it should be.

Personally, I think this happens because if you're making a movie with a large budget, it would take Balls to represent Islam, in the West (with a history of questionable practices against the part of the world with majority Muslim populations, let's face it), with nuance: you are going to offend the faith, you are going to offend the political power players, it's a lose-lose scenario. That B above must be left blank because of the possible offense, itself a response to fear, and so the representation that follows continues to fuel the fire. I also thinks this occurs more often than we care to admit when religions of any stripe are depicted in film under pressure - just stereotypes lacking nuance.

I remember the film Traitor (which I need to revisit) attempted a delicate balance of a Muslim operative deep undercover in a terror cell, and it explores some of the missing pieces that lead Muslims towards violence with some integrity and delicacy to the issue.

But my personal opinion is that it's not the religion itself (any of them) that's the cause of the violence; there are people who are oppressed or violated or abused who also happen to be religious, and after a while, there's religious creep into the actual source of the problem, and the internal narrative and the scriptures are distorted. That's the kind of film I'd like to see - where a person's retreat into faith in hard times leads to a kind of well-informed madness, leading to violence. But that takes guts. Taking the religion out of it, white terrorist films (Taxi Driver, the upcoming Joker) certainly seem to address that trickle effect, and give some reflection to the overall problem of large-scale, fear-inspiring violence.

I love to quote scripture so here's some for thought:
2:208 O you who have believed, enter into peacefulness, the whole (of you), and do not ever follow the steps of As-shaytan (the Devil); surely he is an evident enemy to you.


Consider that modern society for most religious groups has been a struggle to some extent. Often times the question of religion comes down to "how can I be Muslim in this modern world?" And other such questions. A lot of faiths have had to compromise or reconcile their faith to function with modern ideology. Many Christians, for example, look at the words of Christ as a man of his time rather than someone who should be considered timeless. In other words, there are religious people who have acknowledged their faith has archaic elements. For the traditionalists, modernism is a threat to their very existence as they define themselves by their traditionalist roots. Thus, to some extent, you could argue this is the reasoning for fundamentalism in all faiths. I don't think it's accurate to depict religious faith in of itself as morally pure by modern standards. Islam included.

One thing to consider that in the context of many films that Islamic terrorists are simply easy to frame as the villain. Since a lot of these one-note stereotypes appear in goofy action films where everything is absurd, directors don't take much consideration as to how they portray its villains beyond making them assholes. Honestly, for thrillers, I'm fine with this. But it becomes moronic and ham-fisted when portrayed in more serious films. Though in truth, I feel all faiths - including Christianity - is often conflated under one umbrella despite there many a significant amount of theological divisions and local cultures to consider in the context of these beliefs that fly over the heads of most people, including directors. I don't think any film should aim to depict these aspects as it would be overwhelming and ultimately pointless. The best approach, in my mind, is finding one aspect and explore it. I'd like to see storytelling that looks at the divisiveness of beliefs with one faith, or explore the clash of modernity with traditional faith. I can't think of any movie that treats faith in any interesting way, unfortunately. But I do think it's an interesting topic to ponder.

Also, what does Mandarin have to do with Islamic terrorism....? He's a Fu Man Chu stereotype.

PrestoBix
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Re: Islamic Terrorism in Film

Postby PrestoBix » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:43 am

Eye in the Sky is the best movie on the subject off the top of my head.


I think shows/films like Homeland end up inadvertently causing people to be afraid of brown people, which in turns causes racism. If you're going to turn real life groups of people into the villain, you need to be responsible and use some nuance.

Maaxwell
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Re: Islamic Terrorism in Film

Postby Maaxwell » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:52 pm

Couple of you guys are forgetting the "in Film" part of the thread title :roll:

I thought British black comedy Four Lions gave a wonderfully nuanced and sobering look at Islamic terrorism, especially in the way that it stressed the lack of understanding that terrorists can have for their own motives.

If you haven't seen it watch it it's fucking hilarious

TychoCelchuu
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Re: Islamic Terrorism in Film

Postby TychoCelchuu » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:27 pm

Velvet Crowe wrote:And where's your evidence that any nation in the west directly funded and gave money to terrorist groups like the Al-Qaeda or ISIS?

Please, I'm begging you, either read a history book or watch Rambo III.


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