What draws someone into an extremist movement? Is it about ideology? Race? Politics? So many of our discussions about extremism try to explain away the problem by reducing its complexity, but that brings us further and further away from actually solving it.
Deeyah Khan is a British documentary filmmaker and human rights activist. She’s the creator of two extraordinary films airing on Netflix right now,
1. White Right: Meeting the Enemy
2. Jihad: A Story of the Others.
The films do a remarkable job of showing why these opposing brands of extremism are both similar and reciprocal, and why the people they attract mirror each other in so many ways.
Khan spent hours with the most extreme figures she could find, and made a real effort to understand what’s motivating them.
She sat down with Vox’s interviews writer, Sean Illing, for a conversation about what she discovered, why the roots of fanaticism are much deeper than we suppose, and what we have to do win the battle against hatred.
1. It’s Not About the Burqa by Mariam Khan
2. From Fatwa to Jihad by Kenan Malik
3. Faith and Feminism in Pakistan by Afiya S. Zia