In watching BBC3’s ‘My Brother the Islamist’ this evening, I was deeply moved. Not by the story of the filmmaker getting back in touch with his Islamist convert brother and trying to understand his motivations, but by the love of a mother for her son. For most of us, the Dorset town of Weymouth will forever hold happy associations, and what we saw this evening will not, thankfully, displace those positive sentiments. Such a place, idyllic as it is, and largely removed from those negative changes that have so blighted urban England in recent decades, has not, so it seems, managed to insulate itself entirely from the malign influence of Islam.
Robb Leech made this film largely in an attempt to try and comprehend what it was that had motivated his half brother – Rich – to convert to Islam and join with Anjem Choudary’s band of anti-English anti-rationalist Islamist malcontents. The fact that the two had grown up together in what appeared to be a happy and conventional middle-class background in an English seaside town, gives lie to the claims that jihadists are motivated to attack our society because of relative deprivation and ‘racism’: what was driving Rich – now the self-styled Salahuddin – to hate his family and his country was one thing and one thing only: the poisonous ideology of Islam.
At the time of the documentary’s inception, Rich was a recent Muslim convert who had moved to London two years earlier, and converted to Islam only six months before filming began. Since moving away and converting, Rich had come to hate and denounce everything that his family and native society stand for. Strangely, in the short period that he had lived in London, he had lost all trace of a Dorset or conventional English accent, and had acquired instead the peculiar pretentious lilt of the East London (Bangladeshi?) Muslim. This was not touched upon in the documentary, but I suspect that he was not always possessed of such a manner of speaking. He had come to fall in with Anjem Choudary’s jihadist group, which had recently rebranded itself as ‘Muslims Against Crusades’, and had taken part in two provocative demonstrations in 2010: one in Barking, and the other outside of the American Embassy in London. At the age of 27, Rich, now the self-styled Salahuddin, had become an advocate of global jihad and would only speak to his brother and allow the documentary to be made for the sake of Dawah. The fact that he would only shake hands with his brother using the hand that he used to clean his backside was something which, not unnaturally, caused his brother a degree of angry irritation.
It must be hugely upsetting for Rich’s parents to have seen their son undergo what appears to be a mental breakdown, and to have experienced his purposeful estrangement from them. He seems however, to be a lost cause. Worryingly, a seemingly likeable Weymouth lad named Ben, a mere 17 years old, had allowed something rather more sinister than death metal or the latest youth subculture to take a hold on his tractable young mind, for he had instead chosen to convert to Islam. This is the aspect of the documentary that I found the most worrying, for it seemed as if Robb Leech had actively introduced Ben to his elder brother, taking him to London to meet and stay with members of Muslims Against Crusades. As a consequence, Ben became less likeable as the programme progressed, as it became evident that this change of milieu served to solidify and intensify his sense of estrangement from English culture and his mother, whilst strongly reinforcing his self-identification as a Muslim; so much so, that he had his foreskin removed at the East London Mosque. Perhaps Robb Leech hadn’t given this introduction much thought at the time, but I do not think that this was an ethical thing to have done with an evidently highly impressionable teenager.
Ben’s mother – Maggie – struck me as a loving, supportive and very worried mother. Her upset was palpable, and as her son spoke in front of her, repeatedly stating his belief in the superiority of the Islamic doctrine of hate and misogyny, tears welled up in her eyes. As her tears flowed, so too did mine. How must she feel? How would you feel, if one of your children embraced the evil of Islam and turned against you? Every word he said must have smarted and stung. Evidently not wanting to lose him, and deep down hoping that one day he will grow out of this highly damaging and negative phase, she did her best to put a brave face on the situation. Maggie, I hope for your sake and for everyone else’s, that your Ben awakens from this nightmare soon, and comes to see what he has gone through as an uncharacteristic aberration, rather than continuing in his current vein and doing something dangerously stupid.
Why is this happening in our society? Islam has no place here. The fault lies with the education system and the mass media which indoctrinate our children into ethnic self-hatred, whilst elevating other peoples and cultures above our own, and deeming it only permissible to say positive things (i.e. lies) about Islam. Why is Islam finding converts? Because our political class cares not for the well-being of the indigenous people of this country and allows Islam to flourish. Our elite would sooner treat with sordid Saudis for petrodollar kickbacks and agree to their funding the Islamisation of England through mosques, madrassahs and ‘interfaith’ (sic) dialogue, than preserve our culture, way of life and identity. This was evident in last night’s documentary, which showed the police allowing Muslims Against Crusades to practise Dawah on the streets of Weymouth, whilst arresting a local man for voicing his objection. Why should they have the right to spread their lies and hate upon our streets and thereby seek to undermine us and deceive our people, whereas we are subject to arrest for so-called ‘hate speech’ or ‘religious hatred’ if we object to this? They are the agents of hate and our self-declared enemies, and as such, we should seek to make it known to them that they are unwelcome and should leave. Show them the slightest kindness or weakness, and they’ll mercilessly exploit it.
The fact that our media and our mainstream politicians continue to defend Islam and enable its spread provides reason enough to share the tears of a loving mother. It is now up to the EDL, to help wipe those tears away.
I was going to watch this but it sounds too depressing. Thankfully such cases seem to be the exception. Funnily enough, moving to an semi-Islamised city from a 'Midsomer'-type area pushed me in the opposite direction.ReplyDelete
The only (possible) positive thing to come out of this, and you alluded to this at the beginning, is that it takes the ethnic taint out of the whole issue - racism being a primary weapon in the islamists' arsenal (not to speak of their enablers). Mind you, unless you have a couple of high profile, really crazy white Islamists I think it would be of little help in furthering the cause of sanity.
That's not to say that I'd be relaxed to find myself an ethnic minority in a country of happy-clappy tolerant secular humanists, but perhaps that's another discussion.
Thomas, my geographical experience has been the same as yours. It has been enlightening, but damned depressing.ReplyDelete
So far, such cases do seem to be the exception, but I am concerned about the mis-education of children and the normalisation of Islam that this aims to achieve. Nonetheless, yes, the existence of such converts does pull the rug from beneath the feet of those who try and portray those opposed to Islamisation as 'racist' (sic).
Whereas I am a secularist, I am a secular nationalist who understands that Islam cannot peacefully coexist with any other set of beliefs in a single society. I'm not happy with our ethnic marginalisation either. Nor for that matter, with being actively discriminated against in employment because I'm an English male.
I work at a Sixth Form campus in a college of further education. The only ethnic identities which are recognised and lauded in 'Diversity Week ' and the annual propaganda of 'Black History Month' are non-British. We have reached a point in this deliberate process of stripping away native British identity where self worth and pride in our ethnicity as indigenous Britons, among the young in particular, is simply "rqacist" and "uncool" . Regrettably,and symptomatic of this malaise, a Downing St on-line petition to establish a 'White History Month' received only 1,000 or so supporters. Maybe this desultory figure was due to lack of publicity, but then one would imagine that social networking could have offset this - but then again, social networking is used primarily by the under 30s.ReplyDelete
Clearly he was having mental episode, true!ReplyDelete
I also, like many, watched this program.ReplyDelete
Rich has been brainwashed completely.
The group he is with take an "extreme" literal
interpretation of Islam - they whole mantra is
antagonism. Ask many Muslims, right across the
world that keeping ties with your relatives is
paramount in Islam. When I was a student, there
were handful of radical upstarts on campus, but
there were also many other Muslim students. These
radicals when they embrace this form of Islam shun
their kith and kin. This is the complete
antithesis to Islamic principles.
The left hand and right hand business was
disconcerting and again, gross misrepresentation
of Islam. I did sympathise with Rob at the
duplicity he felt during his film making. If Rob
ever had the fortune to travel to some Muslim
countries he would be very much enlightened and and see the
stark contradictions of the group he is affiliated with.
Islam has been hijacked by these people and their ilk.
Time will tell with Rich and Ben as to where their
road will lead them.
Thank you Anonymous from FE. I didn’t realise that there was a ‘Diversity Week’ in addition to ‘Black History Month’. Both of these should be abolished. However, when the annual calendar turns to the month in question, why not raise your sixth-formers’ awareness of unsavoury aspects of so-called ‘black history’. For example, you could highlight the raids of the Muslim Barbary pirates, which some estimates suggest resulted in the capture and enslavement of one million white Europeans, put to work in galleys or used as sex slaves. Tell them about these pirate raids on the West Country and Ireland and their attacks upon our fishermen and coastal communities; about the high value placed upon white sex slaves. Perhaps you might like to draw attention to the continuity of this Mohammedan tradition amongst our ‘vibrant’ resident Muslims today, with their paedophile networks targeting underage English girls?ReplyDelete
Highlight Islamic slavery and its long history and the Muslim contempt for sub-Saharan Africans and the continuity of slaving by Arabs into the current day. Draw attention to the fact that Haiti, an almost entirely black state which became independent in 1804, enjoyed an estimated per capita GDP of $733 in 2009. Highlight the chronic instability of African states, and the failure of any sub-Saharan society to develop a system of writing.
‘Cool’? What is ‘cool’ about misogynist rappers, or ‘assertive’ misogynist Muslims? Nothing in my eyes. But then again, I haven’t experienced the indoctrination mill through which our kids are now processed. There are so many incredible national achievements by which our children should be inspired. Turning to science, where would the World be without the contributions of Newton, Darwin, Faraday and Fleming? In technology, where would it be without the pioneering work of Trevithick, Watt and Stephenson? There are many hundreds, if not thousands, of others who have achieved incredible things in all fields of endeavour. Where is the African Newton? Nowhere. Where is the Islamic Darwin? Likewise, nowhere. Black History Month is most definitely not ‘cool’. Infantile and childish, it most certainly is.
Anonymous who posted on 7 April at 14:51: you appear to be defending Islam in your post. Are you or are you not a Muslim? You will be aware of blog rules regarding posting by Muslims: all Muslims must answer the Quiz for Muslims in full or have their posts deleted. As your post seems to me to be a potential piece of Dawah, please clarify your position. If you do not do so by 9.00 am BST on Saturday 9 April, your comment will be deleted. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I was really offended at the way Rich's brother and his fellow reverts behaved towards him. Their radical behavour cotradicts the muslim belief. The prophet Mohammad PBAH had a loving uncle who who he cared for untill he died. Their radical attitude towards other non muslims is totally wrong. Oh and yes I am a MUSLIM!!!!ReplyDelete
My take home message from this program was rather different... It's interesting that the BBC ran two similar programs at the same time. My Brother the Islamist and Louis Theroux's one on the Phelps family. As a Christian (albeit one who finds faith a struggle!) I watched Theroux's program with a deep sense of revulsion at the Phelp's twisting of the Christian faith before my eye; my impression is that the version of Islam that My Brother The Islamist shows is equally as twisted. What we're seeing in both of these films is not some genuine representation of these religions - rather, both these groups appear cult-like in their operation, and they use religion to meet their own aims.ReplyDelete
I am from Weymouth and was in the same Media Studies class as Robb Leech, the filmmaker. I also happen to know the family of Ben and Ben himself. (A unique position!) I was shocked and angered by the documentary. Ben, you'll be relieved to hear, has distanced himself completely from the MINORITY extremist group and is now training to be a teacher.ReplyDelete
He and his family tried to have the documentary pulled many times. They were also promised that before the closing credits the fact that Ben was ashamed about his actions and his current beliefs would be stated. But BBC 3 clearly wanted the ratings and knew it would stir up passionate debate. The mass media never tell the facts. Like all religions, these twisted, brainwashed, moronic extremists are not a reflection of the vast majority in their particular belief. Anyway, explain scientific fact and the Dinosaurs EVERY RELIGION EVER! Fictional ancient readings. But thats an issue on a much grander scale.
As for Robb Leech. Where was the defence of the 99% of peaceful Islam followers? A cheapo, dangerous, badly-represented documentary to stir up hatred and encourage the similarly extremist Uk defence league, BNP and clueless, angry yobs looking for a new direction of their own. A bigoted, violent one. Worringly, it says a lot about the audience it was made to target adn the response it's received. Nice one BBC 3!
dear lord (in a strictly non religous exclamation) - wtf? this programme doesnt even address the extreme islam view on women? surely thats the most important negative of this cult? women being covered head to toe and deserving being stoned to death because off adultery even if she is raped - she has no chance and is accused of betrayal......... move out of medieval/primitve times and get real!!!! save the planet - who gives a shit about a bull shit book with bullshit rules - love eachother surely the only rule that should be obeyed......... if the world was run by women nothing like this would ever happenReplyDelete
I don't think they were preaching, they were simply making a point that the people in the Video were radical muslims and that most muslims are not like that, they are moderate.ReplyDelete
Why would you delete a comment just because you don't agree with it, it just proves you are not willing to have an open discussion about these things. Are you afraid of being proved wrong?
And no I am not a muslim before you ask, I just believe that everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they want as long as they do not harm to anyone else.
"Anonymous who posted on 7 April at 14:51"ReplyDelete
I am not a Muslim, or else, quite obviously i would've answered your questionnaire, as a courtesy to posting on your blog. I had some Muslim friends on my course at De Montfort and hence wanted to share my experiences and thoughts in the context of the aired program. I am defending the right of any human being to practice their religion in the light of humanism and justice. That's the educated view i subscribe to. There is no doubt elements of extremism and zealotry in many religious factions, which makes me angry as it brings grief and mayhem in it's wake. We can enumerate many faiths including Islam that suffer from this. I totally reject your insinuation that my previous comment is "Dawah" and the interrogatory and benighted manner you responded to my post. I am only a visitor and if that is the courtesy you extend to guests on your blog, please delete my comments, thank you.
Hi, Robb Leech here. I just stumbled upon this blog and thought I would clear a few things up.ReplyDelete
Firstly, in relation to a comment by 'anonymous', the idea that Ben wasn't allowed to express his 'shame' is totally bogus. Ben said exactly what he felt comfortable at the time saying. I have a lot of respect for Ben and his Mother, and care for them both a great deal.
Whoever 'anonymous' might be 'who was in the same Media studies class' as me (I never did 'media class' and If I'm honest, I can't think of anybody I knew at College who would be inclined to believe that I would ever make a 'A cheapo, dangerous, badly-represented documentary to stir up hatred and encourage the similarly extremist Uk defence league, BNP and clueless, angry yobs looking for a new direction of their own', they obviously didn't understand the entire premise of the film, or had ever had a proper conversation with me. I would be very interested to know who this person is?
For the sake of upholding truth, I would also just like to clarify that I didn't introduce Ben to Rich and the brothers or, as the blogger seems to suggest, play some sort of role in orchestrating his circumcision. Bens story unfolded naturally, and had begun well before I arrived on the scene.
If anyone wants to ask me a question about the film, please do email me at email@example.com.
An agent under cover, perhaps?ReplyDelete