AMONG THE BELIEVERS– Documentary
9/11 turned the world on it’s head. What we think we know about religion has been bundled into talking points by one side of the coin. Captured by fear and ignorance we label quickly but never rush to understand. Among the Believers is a riveting documentary that takes the audience inside the infamous Red Mosques and into the mind of Abdul Aziz Ghazi, ISIS supporter, Taliban ally, and teacher of the jihadist movement to children all over Pakistan. Acting a s “dean” Aziz takes children from poor Pakistani families under the guise that he will house, clothe and educate their children for them. What’s really going on is the indoctrination of oftentimes infantile members of a society that doesn’t know any better. These children “study” the Quran from sunrise until 9pm everyday. Not until they are deemed worthy do they even understand the verses they are forced to memorize and chant incessantly. Religion does funny things to people and, no matter which religion, extremists are out there.
This documentary is beautifully balanced with open minded Muslims living in the surrounding neighborhoods of the madrassah (Islamic seminaries) locations. Advocates like Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, speak out in public platforms, such as mass media outlets and lectures. The majority of Pakistan’s population is vehemently against the imposition of Sharia law throughout the country. The question continues to be; How do you fight religion?
As an audience member you will endure a visceral reaction to the ideas onscreen. You will feel a passionate push back in one way or another. Among The Believers is sometimes difficult to watch, but I understand that it is a rather important film.
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Directed By: Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi
An unsettling and eye opening exploration into the spread of the radical Islamic school Red Mosque, which trains legions of children to devote their lives to jihad, or holy war, from a very young age. With incredible access and chilling footage, Among the Believers is a timely and relevant look into the causes that have led to the growth of radical Islam in Pakistan and around the world.