Muslim filmmaker explores homegrown radicals in Tug Of War
2 Canadians wind up fighting for a jihadist group overseas in fictional story
A Toronto filmmaker has produced a movie Tug Of War tackling a question that couldn't feel more urgent: What drives someone to become a terrorist?
"We should be proactive ... in trying to solve the issue, because the reality is not only does it make Muslims look bad, it makes Islam look bad," said Boonaa Mohammed, who wrote and stars in the movie.
Filmed last year, the fictional story is about two Muslim Canadian men who decide to embark on a holy war.
One character, played by Mohammed, is an ex-convict rejected by family and the Muslim community. He finds refuge in a friend who is intent on joining jihadists in the Middle East.
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The movie, which has been touring the U.S. and Canada, screened in Calgary on Nov. 6.
It couldn't be more topical, as investigators pursue those involved in the terrorist attack that killed 129 people in Paris on Friday. A leading suspect, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, has travelled to Syria to fight for the Islamist group ISIS.
Timeliness aside, not everyone in Calgary is applauding the movie.
"Having a conversation is of course a very valuable thing, but what kind of conversation?" said Syed Soharwardy, an imam who founded the group Muslims Against Terrorism.
"If we are trying to have a conversation just to say how people get recruited, that is not solving the problem. That is half of the problem, to know the recruitment process. The other half of the problem is how to prevent it."