The State Episode 1 Review (4 Parts)
Broadcaster- Channel 4 2017 (UK)
Is this a mind-blowing action sequence waiting to go wrong or an overtone of romantic feelings waiting for you to puke? Thankfully, it is none of those. The State is a hard-hitting drama about four recruits who travel from the UK to join so called Islamic State in Syria.
Never before has a show attempted to give you a glimpse into the world of Islamic state. It sounds disturbing but yet a story that needs to be told. The writer, Peter Kosminsky insisted he did not want to demonise the Muslim community and cause a rise in Islamophobia. Has he given rise to Islamaphobes or has he portrayed a drama that Muslims for themselves need to see? I am a Muslim and I will attempt to answer these fundamental questions…
The episode begins with four potential Jihadis looking to travel and join Islamic State in Syria. There are two women: Shakira and Ushna, and two men: Jalal and Ziyad.
They all illegally cross into Syria. Ushna and Shakira are assigned to the care of Islamic State sisters where they are told that they will potentially need to get married and serve the cause. Jalal and Ziyad are also welcomed with the same criteria, it is interesting how they emphasise marriage, however only for the purpose of war, but not for the true essence of an islamic marriage.
It appears Jihad is all Islamic State care about and it is evident when Jalal who has learnt the whole Quran by heart is asked, “well, what else can you do.” The brutality of ISIS is shown through videos of beheadings to Jalal and Ziyad, they are told that this is prophesied in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad where he said that a group will be martyred fighting for Islam. This dangerous rhetoric is why this episode hits the highest note by actually showing why Islamic State gather so many followers. They think it is a divine right for them to go to Heaven by doing acts of horror.
Another striking part of the episode is when Ushna who is still a teen is missing her lifestyle in the west. It is candidly put to her on why she chose to come, the reply is worrying potentially for mothers that have teenage daughters when Ushna responds with, “I want to be a Lioness for Lions”.
The episode ends with the four pledging allegiance with Islamic State.
I was very impressed by the location they used for this series. I was also pleased to read that the writer Peter Kosminsky received information on Islamic State directly from people who had previously been a part of the group. I hope it is explained on how these four were recruited and what made them want to join Islamic State.
I know some peaceful Muslims will be watching this show disturbed and thinking how the vast majority of others view them. This series is for sure not the answer to how a peaceful religion can stop being further hijacked, it is at least food for thought to understand how me and many other Muslims should convey the peacefulness to our friends and neighbours.
Please feel free to comment and write your feelings on the episode or even my review. Until next time take care!