Israeli outsider turns camera on Europe's Muslim outsiders
… somewhere in Marseille's fifteenth arrondissement, director and journalist David Deri ….The car in which he, a photographer and a local guide/driver were traveling was suddenly surrounded by a gang of jittery youths armed with Kalashnikov rifles, ordering everyone out of the car and demanding the raw footage the crew had just filmed. A week earlier, six young men had been killed by rifle fire in the same neighborhood, …. "In those seconds you wonder if it's all worth it. You want to show your viewers the drama, reality as it happens, but you wonder if you've gone too far."
…. a new, four-part series Deri created and directed, "Allah Islam," together with journalist Zvi Yehezkeli. The series started to air last week on Channel 10. After the first episode, which deals with Muslim segregation in Europe, the second episode, to be shown tonight, will focus on the status of Muslim women.
… It's no coincidence that Deri talks about the human experience as crossing diverse worldviews …. a veritable minefield to traverse. … On the one hand, it's about a deep and troubling social, ethical and religious clash between Muslim immigrants having a hard time finding their new place and the masters of the lands to which they moved. The clash is at times violent, extreme and polarizing. Its roots are various and complex, and it is replete with disturbing images of rioting, fire and smashed windows that provoke an emotional response. On the other hand, the discussion of the confrontation is sensitive, both because it seems like a winning argument in the context of another local, Middle Eastern, politically biased conflict, and because it invites counter-claims and accusations of racism, Islamophobia and panic-mongering. … after the first episode's screening by some television reviewers who charged Deri with creating a tool to "ramp up the fear" (Ynet ) or "ratify racist fears" (Ha’aretz ). Deri nods. "I'm not naive," he says. "It's clear to me that the discussion presented in the series will be projected onto our reality and understood as such. Much of the debate about the series and many reactions I've gotten relate to the same old, tired and exhausting Middle East conflict." …
"… one of the goals of the series was to create a bubble, a story about a place we don't know and what happens in it. We all know Europe, but we don't know its backyard. In my opinion, the biggest achievement of the series is the ability to treat the subject in-depth and get to hard-to-reach places - to the basis, the very underpinning of the hidden agendas, the segregation, the young generation, the points of conflict and daily confrontations between the separate populations in Europe. It was important to us to create identification, to follow the characters we found into the complexity of their identities and understand what feeds this intricacy on a day-to-day basis, and not just by means of a psychological analysis."
"… it's clear that the so-called nutjob right will take the series and use it to make the points and agenda it's trying to advance. At the same time, you could say the left will attack the series because anything that portrays Islam as problematic is a right-wing political act. I really don't think you can judge the series on that basis alone." Muslim immigration is one of the hottest and most explosive issues in several European countries. After years of ignoring it, these nations are now confronting weighty social and other questions. In Israel, on the other hand, even though the topic is of interest, it seems it has never before been covered with such intensity.
…. Yehezkeli hides his true identity and assumes another one. … "I'm very careful not to create a bottom line, …. We obviously encountered a great many difficult, painful phenomena linked to Islam in Europe. … The series doesn't take an editorial stance. We're not saying whether or not things are headed for a confrontation." …