Britain halts anti-extremism film

31st May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's government has suspended the distribution of an animated film designed to stop young Muslims from becoming Islamic extremists, the maker said Tuesday.

The short movie, called "Wish You Waziristan", is a cautionary tale about two British brothers who travel to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region in order to become jihadi fighters after seeing a racist beating.

The six-minute film cost £33,000 (38,000 euros, $54,000) of taxpayers' money to produce.

"The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) has decided not to release it," Martin Orton, managing director of Bold Creative, the production house behind the film, told AFP.

"We think it's a brilliant piece of work and we think that if it had a chance it would work brilliantly in what it is supposed to do. But quite sadly we haven't had the chance to do that."

A Foreign Office spokesman said the film had been commissioned by the previous Labour government in 2009 but no decision on its fate had been taken by the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

"The product was not finished and no decision has been taken about distribution," the spokesman said.

The title uses British street slang to pun on the phrase "Wish You Were Here" and the name of the Waziristan tribal district in Pakistan, a hotbed of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Members of Britain's Muslim community questioned how effective it would have been.

"The film sounds naive and simplistic," said Mohammad Shahid Raza, an imam at Leicester Central Mosque.

© 2011 AFP

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