Everyone knows someone or at the very least, has heard of someone who may have considered extremism, if not pursued it. ”Tug of War” is a 60-minute not-for-profit film produced by Boonaa Mohammed that counterattacks extremism and showcases how the role of foreign policy, the role of local and federal law enforcement and the role of the community can lead someone to embrace extreme ideologies from random online sources.
Set in Toronto, “Tug of War” illustrates the mind-boggling journey of two friends who were drawn to radicalized Islam through different avenues. Khalil, a Somalian born Muslim who turned his life around and made Tawbah and reconnected with Islam after serving 4 years in federal prison. Sadly enough, upon his release, everyone he has ever known alongside the community had turned their back on him. While Anas is a former police informant turned extremist who is hell-bent on waging war against the system that ruined his life.
Boonaa Mohammed, a well-known poet, and a filmmaker played Khalil and Mohammed Zeyara, a Humanitarian Activist/Public Speaker played Anas. They simultaneously did a fantastic job in constructing a Muslim narrative. And I appreciate the fact that It couldn’t have been easy to remain persistent and portray such roles for the greater good while fully knowing people would attack such an idea without justifiable cause.
I really like how this movie as it is a movie made by Muslims for Muslims. Boonaa Mohamed envisioned a demand for Islamic Cinema and catered to that market. This movie purposely aids you to comprehend, “Would you help Khalil?” We as a community should rise to accommodate the needs of our brothers and sisters regardless of their circumstance in a way that wouldn’t deviate them to seek affiliation with extremist groups through various platforms. This movie also illustrates extremism is not picture perfect as extremists preach as the reality is one second they are recording a message of hate for the west and the next second they are crying themselves to sleep fully knowing that there are in a state of no return.
Many lessons can be learned from this movie. Some of which are:
P.s don’t quote me word for word. :)
- Do not seek knowledge from random unknowledgeable online sources. – Mohammed Zeyara
- As a community, we need to stop investing in our “buildings” (masjids) and start investing in people as our youth are the leaders of tomorrow! – Boonaa Mohammed
- If we do not write a narrative where you are the hero, someone else will write the narrative where you are the villain. – Navaid Aziz
- We as a community should rise to accommodate the needs of our brothers and sisters regardless of their circumstance in a way that wouldn’t deviate them to seek affiliation with extremist groups through various platforms. – Me
Overall, this is an extraordinary movie that puts the radicalization issue into perspective as it sheds light on topics commonly not tackled by mosques or communities and in some cases families too which enables it to cover an even broader spectrum. Moreover, it is for all ages.
From the scale of 1-5:
I’d rate it as 5
Below are a few links to check out
Enjoy and Thank you for reading :)