In a marquee in Mogadishu, a graduation ceremony for new doctors is taking place. In the front row a journalist appears to be taking photos. No one knows that this young man is Abdi Rahman from Denmark, nor that in just a few seconds he will blow himself up and take several young doctors with him in the blast.
Warriors from the North traces Abdi, Hassan and Mohammed’s stories, each of which follow a horrifically similar path. Born to immigrant parents all three are angry, disillusioned and ostracized Muslim European youth. Each of them left everything behind to join the ranks of al-Shabaab, an extremist Islamic terrorist group in Somalia. Their story is told from the unique perspective of their best friend, who decided at the last minute to stay in Copenhagen rather than travelling to Somalia.
A complex and multi-layered narrative, Warriors from the North offers chilling insight into what fuels the current trend of Western Muslim youth leaving the West to join radical terrorist groups abroad.
Following the Friday 7th August screening will be a panel discussion on some of the issues raised in the film. The panel includes Rashad Ali, Robb Leech and Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.
Rashad Ali is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and a Counter Terrorism Practitioner. He is a former national leadership member of the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and is also classically trained in Islamic theology and jurisprudence.
Robb Leech is an award winning film maker responsible for My brother the Islamist and My Brother the Terrorist. Since his step brother became an extremist in 2009, Robb has talked and written extensively on the subject of radicalisation. Robb is currently making a film that explores Britains largest Mosque and it's Muslim community for BBC2.
Dr Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens - is the head of research at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), King's College London, where he is also a lecturer in War Studies. He specialises in jihadist and far-right recruitment and radicalisation.
Showing alongside the feature will be a short film from award-winning director, Frederick Jan Depickere:
Frederick Jan Depickere / Belgium - Colombia / 2013 / 9 mins
150 kilometers above the arctic circle, Sharman Simu, a Ugandan forced to flee his country, wanders alone, without purpose or direction. His father and brother murdered, mother missing and his sister dead from HIV, Simu’s trauma is palpable and vivid. His resettlement in Norway, however, is only offering him peace. Satisfaction lies elsewhere.
The frozen surroundings and endless white landscape become an apt and lingering visual metaphor for the frigid realities of the migrant experience.
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