Jihad satire

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Jeff Dunham and "Achmed the dead terrorist"

A Jihad satire falls within the tradition of political satire and can refer to a work of art that satirizes the idea of violent jihad. It can also refer to the theory that satirizing violent jihadis with the objective of making them figures of ridicule can be an effective means of defusing jihad.

As art[edit]

The musical comedy Jihad! The Musical and the film Four Lions are works of art that satirise jihadis.[1][2][3][4] The Australian describes Four Lions as "a satire on Islamic jihadism and its murderous ambitions."[5] The satirical Jihad! The Musical featured a hero who cheerfully sang, "I wanna be like Osama, I wanna bomb a path to fame across the Earth. People may abhor me but by God, they won't ignore me, When the CIA determines what I'm worth."[6]

Comedian Jeff Dunham's puppet character "Achmed the dead terrorist" is a popular example of jihad satire in the United States.[7] Achmed is a puppet who shouts, "Silence, I kill you!" whenever the audience laughs at something that offends his sensibilities.[8] Dunham explains that he portrays Achmed as incompetent so that when the audience realise that the character is "a bumbling idiot with problems in life", they appreciate that he is human.[8]

As healing[edit]

Mental health professionals argue that humor and satire can alleviate the mental health impact of terror attacks, helping to heal the survivors of terror attacks and rescue personnel suffering the consequences of exposure to the horrors of deliberate mass murder.[8][9][10][11]

As political strategy[edit]

Arab-American comedian Ray Hanania has written, "If there were a bit of humor in the Middle East, I think that there might not be so much fanaticism. Humor can be a counter to the environment that breeds fanaticism and terrorism."[12]

According to Psychology Today, humor is the most powerful tool to prevent individuals from becoming Islamic suicide bombers, however, to be effective, the humor has to come from within the Muslim community and it has to be "aimed at the culture's sacred values."[13] According to psychologist Molly Castelloe Fong, "Humor has the potential to gradually, over time, alter what it means to be a heroic martyr in the mind of extremist groups."[13]

Agence France-Presse has reported that "Satire and ridicule can help win the fight against Al-Qaeda by stripping it of its glamour and mystique."[14][15]

The Demos group, a think tank in the United Kingdom, is among the academic institutions that have suggested that satire can be an effective tool in undermining support for violent jihad.[1] According to some terrorism experts, successful recruitment for violent jihad depends upon convincing potential recruits that jihadis are "pious warriors of God". They postulate that by "highlighting their incompetence, their moral failings, and their embarrassing antics", it may be possible to "undermine" support for violent jihadi organizations including Al Qaeda and the Taliban.[16] Researchers for Demos recommend satire as a means of undermining the popularity of violent jihad, noting that "satire has long been recognised as a powerful tool to undermine the popularity of social movements: both the Ku Klux Klan and the British Fascist party in the 1930s were seriously harmed by sustained satire."[17]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gardham, Duncan (April 16, 2010). "We should laugh at al-Qaeda, says report". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  2. ^ Roberts, Geneviève (6 January 2009). "Wannabe suicide bombers beware: Chris Morris movie gets go-ahead". The Independent (London). Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  3. ^ "'Four Lions' Jihad Satire Trailer Debuts," March 17, 2010, Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ "Counter-terrorism comedy," International Herald Tribune.
  5. ^ "Jokes on jihad," Evan Williams, August 21, 2010, The Australian.
  6. ^ "Fringe Fest 'Jihad' Musical Touches Explosive Topics," Rob Gifford, Aug, 24, 2007, National Public Radio.
  7. ^ Belinda Luscombe. "The Puppet Master" Time magazine; June 8, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Achmed the dead terrorist and humor in popular geopolitics, Darren Purcell, Melissa Scott Brown and Mahmut Gokmen, GeoJournal, 31 January 2009.
  9. ^ Elaine Anne Pasquali, "Humor; An Antidote for Terrorism", Journal of Holistic Nursing, Vol. 21, No. 4, 398-414 (2003).
  10. ^ Bruce Michael Bongar, Psychology of Terrorism, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 52.
  11. ^ "Mental health's role in combating terror,’" Derrick Hamaoka, Jun Shigemura, Molly Hall, Robert Ursano, Journal of Mental Health, 2004, Vol. 13, No. 6 : Pages 531-535.
  12. ^ Ray Hanania, I'm Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing up Arab in America, U. S. G. Publishing, 1996, p. 15.
  13. ^ a b “Comedy as Counter-Terrorism; Comedy as a Strategy of Counter-Terrorism,” Molly Castelloe Fong, Ph.D. , Jan 26, 2010, Psychology Today.
  14. ^ "Fight Al-Qaeda with satire, ridicule: researchers", Michel Moutot (AFP) – Apr 16, 2010.
  15. ^ “Defeat al Qaeda by removing its "cool" image; The way to beat al Qaeda and stop Islamist groups gaining recruits to violent causes is to remove their "cool" image and make fun of terrorists instead, according to a major international study published on Friday,” Michael Holden, April 15, 2010, Reuters.
  16. ^ Fair, Christine (July–August 2010). "The Case for Calling Them Nitwits". The Atlantic. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  17. ^ ‘’The Edge of Violence, A Radical Approach to Extremism,’’ Jamie Bartlett, Jonathan Birdwell, April 16, 2010, Demos, p. 40.