04 April 2016

‘What are the Isis brides running from?’

Today, Khan is an award-winning documentary-maker, a fierce defender of Muslim women’s rights and a brave challenger of jihadists and those who radicalise others (the threats against her continue for this). Her film Banaz, about the monstrous “honour” killing of a 20-year-old south London woman Banaz Mahmod by her family in 2006, won an Emmy award.

Last week her documentary Jihad: A British Story, was nominated for a Bafta. In it she interviews former recruiters and radicalisers of young people for the battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir, Burma, Bosnia and Chechnya who now deeply regret their actions. She reduces one of them to tears (it’s a satisfying thought to imagine Isis members watching a woman do that).

The film explodes the macho charade of jihadists and reveals a different narrative: that often they are simply pathetic, inadequate, lost young men, often sexually frustrated, who are torn between two cultures — their parents’ and that of their Western friends — and want something to remedy their feelings of emasculation. [The Times (£)] Read more