If you’re looking for some quarantine binge-watching, we recommend Netflix’s series “Caliphate.”
Originally a Swedish drama, the series shows how teen girls are trafficked by ISIS recruiters and follows the lives of both men and women who come to regret their decision to join the caliphate.
The show also profiles recruiters for the caliphate, including both men and women and how they systematically target vulnerable girls.
Tanya Joya, a former ISIS bride for one of the top commanders in what eventually became the Islamic State, shares what stood out for her in the series:
“There was an attention to detail in the cinematography, superb acting by multi-ethnic myriad of the Muslim people living in Sweden and Raqqa, gripping storylines and cliffhangers.”
The characters in “Caliphate” are certainly complex , causing the audience to find themselves sympathetic toward those whose motives or loyalties we might question in day-to-day life. While the storyline emphasizes the women, there’s also attention on the male characters in the drama.
The father of one of the lead characters is horrified when his daughter starts to wear a hijab. He’s a staunch secularist who escaped fundamentalist Islam, and the audience sees him struggle as the ideology now possesses his daughter.
Another male character, a jihadist married to a woman who becomes an informant, struggles with the morality of his choices. He clearly suffers from PTSD and is challenged between his loyalty to ISIS, his interpretation of faith, and his loyalty to his wife and daughter.
The show spotlights the need for conversations and training around radicalization, and how it can deter families and lives from being irrevocably destroyed by violent Islamist ideologies.
When you’re done watching Caliphate, check out Clarion Project’s 11-part original series on the psychology of terrorism, featuring Tanya Joya.