Channel 4’s recent documentary ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ was eye-opening, but could it be seen as a form of propaganda for terrorists?
In the film Jamie Roberts interviews members of a radical Islam group from London about their beliefs and actions.
One of the members Abu Rumaysah, who was a bouncy castle salesman, is now allegedly the ISIS’ executer, the ‘masked murderer’, and has become one of the most wanted men in the world.
While the documentary was being filmed, Abu Rumaysah was arrested along with nine other men for encouraging terrorism.
He was later released on bail and eventually fled to Syria with his wife and children.
The aim of this radical group is to promote the ideology of Sharia law which consists of covering women, no alcohol or gambling, no homosexuality and being extremely punished for any crimes or sins committed.
During the film, Roberts said: “I’m nervous about providing this small group the media platform they crave.’”
ISIS use social media to share a lot of their content and help spread it to the western world in hope to recruit more members, and so it is debatable to wonder whether programmes like this are benefiting them or destroying their image.
After Abu Rumaysah left, the documentary continued by interviewing Abu Haleema who was also part of the group.
A 14 year-old Australian boy was arrested for plotting to behead police after speaking to Abu Haleema via Twitter.
It has been said that over 700 Britons have travelled to Syria to join ISIS, 100 of them being females.
ISIS use platforms such as Twitter to engage with young people who are more likely to be ‘brainwashed’ and convinced.
During the interview Abu Haleema says he knows a fair amount of people who have left England to fight.
Throughout the film the group is seen promoting itself on the streets of London when a member of the public calls them brainwashed and says that this a front to recruiting people for ISIS who are terrorists.
The influence on younger people is only increasing, and it can be seen as though programmes like this is a form of propaganda as it publicises this extremist group to the world.
One scene shows Abu Haleema making a statement to the press outside of court.
He said: “This is a war against Islam and Muslims.”
Statements such as this, could affect the thinking of a vulnerable person watching the show, making them consider this as a reason to join this group.
ISIS need the media to succeed, and cannot proceed with recruiting or sharing their videos without it.
News reports and programmes like this only help to make them more noticeable and important therefore empowering them as a group.
The literal Arabic definition of the word ‘Jihad’ is effort, and revolves around positive connotations in Islam.
However through the media, this word has become associated with negative meanings relating to extremist terrorist groups. I feel as though the media speaks of these groups as though they represent Muslims like me, when in fact they do not.
The majority of Muslims disagree very much with radical groups and ISIS and are against their actions and policies. As a Muslim living in a Western society, it can get frustrating and disappointing to see so much negativity around Islam in the media.
I think negative press around Islam only creates more hatred towards the religion and does no good for people like me who feel like we are being put in the same category as terrorists.
The media’s reports on radical groups has shed a negative light on Islam, portraying a small group as though they are the real representation of the majority of Muslims.
Over the years, the image of Islam has only become damaged, as words such as ‘terrorist’ and ‘Jihad’ are linked with it.
Documentaries revolving around ISIS have started to become more popular.
Channel 4 also aired ‘My Son the Jihadi’ and ‘My Twin the Jihadi’.