By Govindini Murty. There’s a welcome new development giving me some hope that the cultural battle over the War on Terror may finally be tipping over on the side of democracy. A number of British Muslim and non-Muslim filmmakers are making films satirizing Islamic radicalism. The most successful of these right now is the new film Four Lions, a comedy about four bumbling Muslim terrorists in England that – astonishingly – showed at Sundance this past January and was picked up for distribution in the U.K. Directed by Chris Morris and featuring Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, and Adeel Akhtar, Four Lions opened a little over a week ago in the U.K. and has been doing terrific business. As the UK Guardian reports, Four Lions had the highest per screen average of any new release in the U.K. when it opened over the May 7th weekend, beating out even Iron Man 2 in per-screen average.
The hilarious trailer for Four Lions is posted above, and you can find out more about the film here and here. I’m very heartened by this new development. The extraordinary thing is, Four Lions isn’t the only such film satirizing radical Islam. Jason and I have discovered an amazing number of recent new films by English and European filmmakers, many of them Muslim, who are openly questioning the tenets of radical Islam. Stay tuned as we post more about these films in days to come. As numerous media commentators have noted, Islam has never gone through a Reformation as Christianity has, but if films like Four Lions and numerous others show, that process of questioning within the Muslim community may now be underway.
In the struggle for freedom, one can never write off an entire people or an entire religion. There are many moderate Muslims who want to embrace democracy and fight terrorism, and these films are a powerful sign of that. We should support the brave filmmakers and actors who make films like Four Lions. There’s no U.S. release announced yet, but with the film’s success in the U.K., let’s see if a U.S. distributor picks this up.