A group of Muslim Brotherhood youths have launched a new film project in a bid to promote Islamic values and counter mainstream Egyptian cinema deemed too provocative by hardline Islamists, the Times of Israel reports. They also want to dispel the argument that the Brotherhood is an extremist group, but that is one goal that might have to go unmet.
Videos for the new project, titled "Cinema Ikhwan [Brotherhood]: Upscale Art Has an Address," are uploaded to a YouTube channel, which already has 706 subscribers and almost 300,000 video views. The founders say they will eventually create their own original films instead of compiling the videos of others.
“Art is not new to the Muslim Brotherhood but has been used since its inception,” Yasser Said, a media student and member of “Cinema Ikhwan,” told Al-Masry Al-Youm, an independent Egyptian daily. “The Brotherhood strives to create a meaningful art form to serve as an alternative to the art which attempts to corrupt our culture and customs.”
It should be noted that the uploaded videos are not directly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood organization as they are submitted.
If the project's purpose really is to re-brand the Muslim Brotherhood as a non-violent and reasonable faction, it isn't off to a great start. One particular video shows a child dressed in army fatigues, holding an M-16 rifle as he speaks to his dead father who was killed in battle. The video was uploaded by Hamas's Izz el-Din Al-Qassam Brigades in March, 2012, the Times of Israel reports.
“I will not forget, my father, the days when you taught me the love of Jihad and how to use a weapon,” the child says, as the video shows images of the father teaching the young boy how to shoot the rifle.
“Every drop of blood that left your body will be matched by dozens of bullets aimed at the chests of the enemies," the boy continues.
While the Times of Israel does not elaborate on who the "enemies" might be, the boy very well could have been referring to Israel as the two countries have been in constant conflict. Palestine and its supporters regularly claim Israel is unlawfully occupying Palestinian territory.
The disturbing video of the child, who should be out playing with his friends instead of talking about murdering his enemies, can be seen here:
The Times of Isreal has more on the content of some of the other videos:
Another goal of the project is to shatter stereotypes about the Brotherhood as an extremist and coercive movement. “Cinema Ikhwan” was created to encourage individual cinematic projects not directly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
One such film is the short comedy “the anti-sinning unit” which portrays a surprise visit by a Saudi-like cleric at the home of an ordinary citizen. The surprised man, who quickly tapes a fake beard to his face, is forced to explain to the self-proclaimed “anti-sinning inspector” why he allows himself to drink Pepsi and watch a soccer match.
The film ends with narration that encourages Egyptians not to believe silly rumors about the extremism of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Another film, more political in nature, is an attempt to dissuade undecided Egyptians from voting for Ahmad Shafiq as president. A citizen named Hamdi standing in line to vote explains why he intends to vote for Shafiq, but is convinced to vote for Mohammed Morsi. “Do the right thing, Hamdi!” reads the narrator.
Apparently the only requirement to have a video posted on the group's YouTube channel is the submitted clips must further "Egypt's religious awakening and maintain the moral principles of the Egyptian people," according to the Times of Israel.
While some of the videos are lighthearted (in Muslim Brotherhood terms), others are politically charged and or threatening, such as the video of the Palestinian boy holding an assault rifle.
Watch some more of the videos submitted to "Cinema Ikhwan," below.
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)