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Former jihadis demand that documentary about their rehabilitation be withdrawn



As I explained in an article when this controversy began, “Jihad Rehab” endeavors to show how poor jihad terrorists imprisoned at Guantánamo are the good guys, and the U.S. government is the real terrorist entity. But even though it reflected reliably Leftist views, “Jihad Rehab” is still not acceptable to the victimhood propaganda industry. As I have pointed out many, many times over the years, any negative presentation about jihad violence or Sharia oppression, or even one like “Jihad Rehab” that some might perceive as negative if they tilt their head sideways and squint really hard, will be condemned as “Islamophobic.” The only narrative allowed in mainstream American culture today is that jihad violence has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, and that any opposition to it is “racist” and “Islamophobic” and must be condemned, and that Muslims are innocent victims of American oppression, always and in every case, without exception or any kind of shading.

“Jihad Rehab: former Guantánamo prisoners call for documentary to be withdrawn,” by Thaslima Begum, Guardian, July 29, 2022:

A group of former Guantánamo prisoners are calling for the film Jihad Rehab to be withdrawn. In an open letter, the men express their “discomfort with the content of the film and its methods of production.”

The letter was published after the film was screened at the Doc Edge festival in New Zealand under a new name, The UnRedacted. “Changing the title of the film doesn’t change its harmful narrative or lazy stereotyping,” says Moazzam Begg, a former prisoner and director of the Cage advocacy group. “Following widespread criticism, the team behind Jihad Rehab had an opportunity to listen and learn. Yet this has been met with little corrective action or even acknowledgment.”

Filmed over several years, Jihad Rehab follows four ex-Guantánamo inmates, who are detained at a rehabilitation centre in Saudi Arabia. Despite not being convicted of any terror charges, the film introduces each of the men alongside a list of alleged crimes that were used to detain them without trial in Guantánamo for over a decade.

The film was condemned after its Sundance premiere earlier this year, which resulted in two Sundance staffers resigning in protest and a public apology from Abigail Disney, the film’s executive producer, as well as the festival itself. In her apology, Disney said she regrets not insisting “on a full fact-checking process to ensure that the highest standards of accuracy were being met” and that the film’s interviewees “cannot freely consent to anything in a carceral system, particularly one in a notoriously violent dictatorship”.

Critics have highlighted the ethics of interviewing the men after they have spent nearly half their lives at Guantánamo, where they faced physical and psychological torture. One of the men still talks with his hands together as if they are in handcuffs. Jihad Rehab has also been criticised over its failure to dispel offensive stereotypes of Muslim men – and more serious claims that it jeopardises the safety and security of its subjects.

Mohammed Al-Hamiri, one of the men featured in the film, told the Guardian that he wasn’t aware the film would be accessible internationally and only found out that it had been made available online after its showing at Sundance. “My life is already difficult but this film poses a serious threat to my life and that of my family,” said Al-Hamiri. Another man said that he had explicitly told the film-maker that he did not want to be featured in the film but his wishes had been disregarded. The film’s director Meg Smaker says that all the participants in the film signed consent documents and denied that the men expressed any fears in correspondence with her….

Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith told the Guardian that he spoke with Smaker directly but felt his concerns were dismissed: “She appeared very defensive, although she admitted that elements of her film could put one of the men’s lives in jeopardy.” Smaker denies she made such comments.

Smith added that he was shocked that Smaker’s team hadn’t engaged with any of the men’s lawyers regarding their involvement in the film. He said he feared that such an approach was “manifestly unethical”….