Blurring the line between reality and fiction, a former member of a terrorist group has made a movie slamming those in the Kingdom who recruit young Saudis to fight abroad.
The fictional account of a Saudi deceived by one of these men to fight in Syria has lit up the Internet, and resulted in Abdulrahman Ayel, the filmmaker, getting death threats.
The 15-minute film tells the shocking story of a terrorist organization whose pursuit of twisted ideological goals results in nothing but brutality, misery and heartbreak.
Ayel, who once fought in Iraq for a terrorist organization, directed the movie that focuses on supposedly peace-loving men who are involved in recruiting youngsters to fight in Syria and Iraq. The movie raises many questions about the religious credibility of the recruiters. The movie opens up at the headquarters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Deir Al-Zour, Syria, showing several guards in black clothes and covering faces holding military weapons. In the background, a person can be heard reciting poetry encouraging adherents to disrupt public peace and join anti-government uprisings.
As the reciter’s voice fades, the ISIS men bring in a blindfolded man recruited by a local preacher.
He pleads for his life and for the “good” cause that brought him from abroad to support fellow “jihadis.” However, after a short trial he is convicted of espionage and sentenced to death. Fellow fighters carry out the sentence.
“We should not feel sympathy for traitors from our homeland,” says an executioner, as he brandishes a blood stained knife.
The story then shifts to a mosque in Riyadh, where the dead man’s father receives a call from an anonymous person who says his son has died “a martyr.”
Later, the young man’s invisible “spirit” goes to Riyadh to search for answers behind his recruitment and participation in the futile cause abroad. With blood dripping from the gash in his neck, he goes to his family home in a run-down neighborhood and apologizes to his grief-stricken family.
“I was not aware of what was really going on,” he says to his distraught father, mother, brother, and sister. He weeps bitterly when he realizes that none of them can hear or see him.
Then he goes to the office of the recruiter, and finds him taking more money from unsuspecting believers who simply want to fund a good “jihad” cause. He reprimands the recruiter for sending him to die for nothing, but his anger falls on deaf ears. To the recruiter, he remains nothing, neither in life nor in death. Frustrated, the young man goes to a mosque to ask Allah’s forgiveness. “Oh Allah, please forgive me,” he intones. “I never knew that I would be killed at the hands of fellow Muslims.”
The movie closes with the sheikh attending the young man’s funeral and preaching about the blessings of jihad.
Ayel says the movie is a reaction to the many young men who have engaged in mercenary wars in Syria and Iraq, fighting for someone else’s political beliefs, only to bring grief to their families and the entire nation.
“The second part of the movie is going to shed light on the real culprits in society who have relentlessly pushed young men into a politicized war outside their country to serve their own agenda of power and control,” he says. “These culprits live among us and continue to call for jihad through social media networks and their jobs.”
Ayel says he has received death threats by e-mail and on social media networks because of his movie. “These threats are ideologically motivated and we are taking them seriously,” he says. “I will seek legal advice on such threats and how to deal with them.”
Ayel says the movie should be a warning and wake-up call for people to guard against suspicious appeals for jihad in conflict zones without permission from the ruler, who is the ultimate authority in Islam for declaring a holy war. “Those who patronize and support such bogus calls for jihad must be brought to justice and punished, and not left to cause more damage,” Ayel says.