Documentary Film Idea: War on Terror Narrative

The following is an idea for a documentary film (or book or article) that I’ve had in mind for quite some time…


It’s format would look similar to the documentary film by Professor Sut Jhally (Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land).

It would address the following:

1. The definition of terrorism

-How the definition is selectively and exclusively used for Muslim in domestic attacks but not for Dylan Roof, Anders Breivik, Justin Bourque, Marc Lepine, Richard Henry Bain. Robert Lewis Dear.

-The attempt at concocting a legal definition in political science textbooks and journalism in order to favor western interests. This definition attempts to exclude the military invasions, military terrorism, state terrorism from any accountability.

2. How the media covers terrorism

-The history of terrorism and the use of the word the use of terrorism, beginning with the Israelis, and how they used it to malign the Palestinians, to contemporary U.S. politics and the war machine.

-Case examples of how the media covers terrorism and its double standard

-Bringing on journalists, political scientists, authors, bloggers, activists to discuss how the media covers civilian deaths and purposely avoids calling it terrorism or avoids even giving it any light at all

-How terrorism has become the worst thing ever in the minds of the public, even though war crimes, illegal wars, economics slavery are equivalent to terrorism or worse, and have caused as much suffering

3. A war on the Muslim world – a battle for hearts and minds

-How Islam and Muslims have become synonymous with terrorism, Jack Sheehan, demonization of Islam and Muslims…importance of humanization and empathy and the media’s role…

-Facts from the war on terror, civilians killed, social implications, economic implications, new colonization and occupation, Muslims seeing themselves as inferior, Mehdi Hasan (War on Terror). Civilian deaths in Iraq, Fallujah, etc.

-If most of the public knew, they would reject the media discourse, but because the narrative has been repeated so many times, a lie has become a truth.

-The state of the Muslim community. I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but the leadership in the Muslim community  (I’m talking about Imams and Mosques and Community Leaders) that exist in the West have unanimously condemned terrorism. In fact, every time one of these incidents occurs, the are very vocal about it. They make videos, issue press releases, write articles, and even hold events on why such terror has nothing to do with Islam. Also check out the Facebook pages of many Imams as this is the platform of choice since they don’t have access to a multimillion dollar corporate media station.

Now this is great. Because people need to know what Islam is and what Islam is not (see the “DeenShow” which is recorded in Chicago, USA).

….Except there are only two problems with this:

-The media barely covers it, making it look like that Muslims are complicit and support terror

-And also, this leadership that is under immense pressure, lose the respect of the their community. Why? Because when instance their own Muslim brethren are killed, they remain overly silent. It’s almost as if they react only to the media. Further, you’ll be surprised, they remain fairly apolitical and unaware of issues at the institutional level, whether is be how mass media works, military, war, mass education, healthcare, economics – and this is turn turns off its community members. On one hand, there is a lack of understanding within the Muslim leadership about society, and within the community and congregation, there is a lack of understanding of their religion, a connection to scholarship, the Quran and Prophetic Way, etc and so there’s a huge gap.

4. Addressing arguments and counter-arguments

-i.e. there’s only two sides, you’re either with the governments or you’re with the terrorist. Explaining why terrorism happens and addressing the root causes does not mean one is choosing a side. Similarly, a criminologist examines the root causes of crime, that doesn’t mean s/he is defending the criminals. Criminal behaviour can never be justified.

-The idea of nationalism and patriotism doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything your country and governments does. Rather we should be interested in truth, justice, and properity for all.


5. Solutions

-The more irrational and illogical our world becomes, and the more we lose our empathy and compassion for each other, it’s bad for all of us, we lose the understanding of our purpose in life.

-Activism: a practical solution, highlighting the lives of activists across the world who challenge the narrative, both spiritually and practically

-Ignoring the elephant in the room, things can only get worse, but a single person can make a difference, volunteering, activism, organization. We must desire a real media and not always entertaining ourselves while ignoring massive problems in the world such as world poverty.


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