Muslim filmmaker explores homegrown radicals in Tug Of War

Toronto filmmaker Boonaa Mohammed has produced a movie that, in ripped-from-the-headlines fashion, explores how two Canadian Muslim characters wind up radicalized and fighting for a jihadist group overseas.

2 Canadians wind up fighting for a jihadist group overseas in fictional story

Muslim filmmaker explores phenomenon of homegrown radicals in Tug Of War

7 years ago
Duration 11:50
Toronto filmmaker Boonaa Mohammed has produced a movie that explores how two Canadian Muslim characters wind up radicalized and fighting for a jihadist group overseas.

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.

Filmmaker Boonaa Mohammed's movie Tug of War shows how two fictional Canadian Muslims become radicalized. "There are issues and things we can do along the way to help prevent issues like this in the future," he said. (CBC News)
"These people are misguided and misled," said Mohammed. "A lot of them are vulnerable. A  lot of them feel like they are on the fringe of society. They don't have proper support."

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."


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