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Killing in the Name (2010)

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In 2005, a suicide bomber walked into Ashraf's wedding, killing 27 people. Now he is on a quest to confront terrorism around the globe.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Four years ago, Ashraf Al-Khaled and his bride were celebrating what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, when an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber walked into their wedding and blew himself up, killing both of their fathers in front of their eyes. The couple lost 27 members of their family that day. It's a sad fact that stories like Ashraf's pepper the news almost daily. In the last 5 years, over 88,000 people have been killed or injured in terrorist attacks worldwide. The majority, like Ashraf, were Muslims. How can someone be so robbed of their humanity that they happily commit mass murder and suicide? It's one of the fundamental human questions of our era, one that has haunted Ashraf since his wedding day, and what is now driving him to rise from horrific tragedy to take an unprecedented step - breaking the silence in the Muslim community on this taboo subject by speaking out against terrorism. KILLING IN THE NAME follows Ashraf in his quest to speak with victims and ... Written by Jessica Van Garsse

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Documentary | Short

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August 2010 (USA)  »

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One of the best of the short documentaries...even if the message may be a bit disturbing if you pay close attention.
27 February 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Today is the day the Oscars are announced and it's also one of the days that the Documentary Short nominees are being shown in theaters across the country. This is the first year such a show was shown and I must say that all the nominees were exceptional...though generally rather depressing as well. I didn't mind that, as the films were intended to point out societal problems--and that is not what I'd consider 'fun'.

Of the five films, this is, in my opinion, probably the second best of them--and a very strong contender for the Oscar. The film impressed me as a very brave film with a very positive message (more about that later). I was also impressed with the effort put into making "Killing in the Name", as the film makers traveled from the Middle East to Indonesia to get the project completed.

The film stars Ashraf--a Jordanian with a very sad story. It seems that when he and his wife got married, some idiot suicide bomber attacked the hotel where the reception was being held--and 29 of the people at the wedding were killed--including 3 of the 4 parents! Now, years later, Ashraf has taken on a project--to confront the jihad mentality and those who might become the next generation of suicide terrorists. The film is made up of footage of Ashraf as well as stock footage and interviews with an evil cleric who advocates terror bombings--with complete indifference to the Muslims killed as a result.

The film does a good job of trying to mobilize the Muslim world to stop the terror--and his message carried a lot of weight since he, too, is a Muslim. One odd potential problem with this message is that it can EASILY be inferred that Ashraf might be encouraging bombers to be sure never to kill Muslims...but what about non-Muslims? This is a question I didn't quite feel the film addressed. But, even if this is the case, the film is very powerful and packs a great message for social change. Exceptionally well made, poignant and well-made from start to finish. And the best part? When Ashraf talked to Indonesian students who thought suicide terror was justified--what a dramatic moment! By the way, when you see the film you may or may not get the meta-message that it MIGHT be okay to bomb so long as Muslims aren't injured. I'd love to hear your feelings about it one way or the other.

UPDATE: The Oscar winner was "Strangers No More". I wouldn't have picked it since it was a rather tame and non-controversial film but it was uplifting and nice.


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