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Watch: Jihad: A British Story by Deeyah Khan

  • By Lora Christy
  • 16th March 2016
On 10 February 2016, Free Word, in collaboration with Fritt Ord and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, hosted a screening of Deeyah Khan's powerful film, 'Jihad: A British Story'. Below, you can watch a video of the panel discussion and Q+A that followed and see Munir Zamir perform a poem that he wrote to launch our 'Unravelling Europe' series.

Jihad: A British Story explores the roots of Islamic radicalisation in the UK. Spending two years with some of the leading figures in the British jihad movement from previous generations, filmmaker Deeyah Khan secured emotional and raw testimony from former extremists, learning first hand what it can be like to be drawn into radicalisation. In the film, she meets one of the founding fathers of the British jihad movement who went abroad to fight and who preached extremism to thousands of young Muslims across the UK and the West.

The screening was followed by a discussion and an audience Q+A involving Deeyah and some of those featured in Jihad, chaired by lawyer and cabinet minister Sayeeda Warsi. The evening was concluded with a poem by Munir Zamir who also featured in the film; his poem, 'Unravelling Europe', was written to help launch our Unravelling Europe series.

Speakers at this event included:

Deeyah Khan is an award-winning Norwegian film director, music producer, composer and human rights defender of Punjabi and Pashtun descent. She is the founder and CEO of production company Fuuse. Deeyah is the recipient of several awards for her work supporting freedom of expression; in 2012, she was awarded the Ossietzky prize by Norwegian PEN.

Alyas Karmani is an Imam and Khateeb at a number of Mosques in the North of England and across the UK. He was the head of Race Equality for the Welsh Assembly Government in 2004 and is currently a consultant for West Yorkshire and London probation services in relation to resettlement and reintegration of Muslim offenders. Alyas has a psychology background, including 20 years of experience in counseling and therapy work focusing on Muslim-centred mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Abu Muntasir is the Founder and Chief Executive of JIMAS, a Muslim educational charity that works to create a greater understanding about Islam amongst both Muslims and people of other faith and no faith backgrounds. Abu is the serving Academic Director for the Sacred Sciences Curriculum, delivering courses in his specialisations of Seerah, Hadith, Ihsan studies and Muslim family life.

Sayeeda Warsi is a lawyer, a businesswoman, a campaigner and a cabinet minister but she is best known for being the first Muslim to serve in a British cabinet. In 2010 she was appointed Chairman of the Conservative party and Minister without Portfolio in cabinet. In 2012 she became Senior Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities. She resigned in 2014 citing the government’s morally indefensible policy on Gaza. In 2015/16 she was named by the Royal Strategic Studies Centre as 1 of 500 of the most influential Muslims in the world.

Munir Zamir works within the NGO sector as a trainer, facilitator and creator of counter-extremism expertise and knowledge. He has worked internationally and specialises in the creation and dissemination of online counter-extremism. Munir also conducts analysis and research into trends within extremism and terrorism related issues. A teacher by profession, Munir has a Masters degree in Terrorism Studies and has worked extensively in the public sector within education, youth work and inclusion.

This event was part of Free Word's series, Unravelling Europe. Against a backdrop of increasing fragmentation fuelled by anxiety and fear, the conditions and values that underpin our open, democratic societies are under threat. Putting artists at the heart of the discussion, alongside thinkers and speakers from other disciplines, Unravelling Europe sets out to ask: why is this so, what are the consequences and how might we act to counter them?


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