4. Thumbs down: Ya Rab: Jihad Against Terrorism

Ya Rab: Jihad Against Terrorism is a Bollywood film that, according to Business of Cinema, “broadly deals with the issue of Jihad and how Quran has been misinterpreted to give birth to terrorism.”

You’d think that peaceful Muslims would be glad to see this addressed — certainly I myself am interested to see how Ajaz Khan makes a case that “Quran has been misinterpreted to give birth to terrorism,” since jihad terrorists routinely quote chapter and verse of the Qur’an to justify their actions, and for years I’ve called upon Muslims who claim that this is a “hijacking” of Islam to refute their exegesis.

Instead, however, Muslims in India protested against the film, and a Muslim group, Jamiatul Ulema-e-Maharashtra, went to court in a failed effort to get it banned. This was even after they succeeded in getting the filmmakers to remove portions they found objectionable. Indian Muslim leader Syed Furqan fulminated:

Why the film has portrayed only Muslims as terrorists? It would have shown people from other religions as terrorists. The fact is that the film portrays bad and negative image of Muslims. Far from clearing the misconceptions, it will create hatred against the Muslim community.

These are common arguments that we hear in the West also: that other religions inspire terrorists as well, and to speak about jihad terror will only lead people to hate Muslims. But to depict modern-day terrorists who quoted the Bible or Bhagavad Gita or any other religious texts to justify violence, the filmmakers would have had to enter wholly into the realm of fantasy. And clearly Ajaz Khan didn’t make the film because he hated Muslims, but because he wanted to create a Muslim effort against jihad terror. That instead he met with rage, protests, and demands that his film be banned is telling.