A play called ‘Jihad’ has been on stage in Brussels and France. It follows the odyssey of three young Muslims from the streets of Brussels to the horrors of Islamic State-inspired martyrdom in Syria.
Ismael Saidi, the stage director and writer of the play was born to Moroccan parents and raised in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek, which has faced radicalisation.
He has never been radicalised but was exposed to such views when he was younger. Some of his childhood friends went to Syria and he was approached to go to Iraq during the war.
“When you are young and someone tells you some truths you know and which are still happening it makes you think. What frightens me with jihad – and I think it’s really disturbed me since the beginning – is that I wrote a story which was supposed to take place 25 years ago.
‘It was not meant to be current; or to reach out to young people. And when the media says to me you were a visionary, I respond: ‘No, I was outdated. I wrote a thing of the past.’ What’s pathetic, is that it actually speaks to them,” he explained.
European jihadi fighters were involved in the Paris attacks that left 130 people dead and the Brussels bombings that killed 32 people but Ismael believes radicalisation and people drifting into the Jihad starts very early on.