Saturday, February 7, 2015

Syrian Filmmakers Mock Islamic State in Satirical Videos

Youssef Helali, who joined the Syrian uprising in its early days, has seen many of his one-time comrades embrace Islamic State, seduced by the extremist movement’s slick propaganda. So he found a way to fight back: making fun of a group that thrives on fear.
Together with fellow Syrian activists Maen Watfe and Muhammad Damlakhy, Mr. Helali has produced a series of comedy sketches that mock Islamic State’s pious message. Such slapstick can be a potent weapon: Islamic State, known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, has concentrated its effort on well-produced videos and magazines as it seeks to attract recruits and funds from all over the world.
“I target those who support Daesh in their minds—and it’s very effective because the Syrians love comedy,” said Mr. Helali, a 31-year-old from the northern city of Aleppo. “Daesh is hiding behind religion, but they are just killers. The jokes make Daesh angry, and this is our success.”
Shot on a shoestring budget using fake beards and guns purchased in a local toy store, these videos—sometimes accompanied by the tunes from “Pink Panther”—are short but biting.
Islamic State isn't laughing. As soon as the filmmakers began releasing these sketches on social media, supporters of the group posted warnings that the authors will be punished with death, just as the cartoonists at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo had been.
Read the rest of the story HERE and watch a related video below:

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