from jail to jihad  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

I watched a documentary, “From jail to jihad”, which was broadcasted on Monday, 16th of June 2008, at 8.00 PM, on Channel 4. It is based on the radicalization of British prisoners into extremists on false Islamic ideologies. It also deals with the problems faced as well as measures taken by the British government to neutralize these youngster's religious beliefs and stop the spread of extremism.

Reporter Mr. Amil Khan reveals how the prisoners are misled through extremists inside the prison by addressing false Islamic preaching to the young prisoners, or by supplying of DVDs containing the speeches of some Islamic revolutionaries, or through literature material distributed inside the prison. These young prisoners are motivated, through this preaching, to commit crimes and violence against non-Muslim masses and are convinced by their guru extremists that, if committed against any non-Muslim, Islam justifies these acts. British government is also now taking strict measures to allocate Imams for friday prayers, who are highly qualified and righteous in Islamic ideologies.

These youngsters are full of anguish due to the street lives they live in. Extremists take advantage of these troubled youngsters and contact them either by staying outside the mosques or through the prisons. They gradually drag them into terrorist activities, blinding them on the false religious beliefs and radicalize them into Jihad, for the sake of Allah, the almighty.

I am now thinking of using this context to be the focusing point of my project. I am thinking about how advertising design can change the viewpoints of these youngsters, towards Islam, political violence, and terrorism. Concluding this, my campaign would now be targeted towards these radicalized youngsters.


Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

Design to combat terrorism, is the topic for my Masters this year. Its a vast subject with varied definitions, none of which are substantial. All sorts of questions arise while you think about the topic. The first question is, why? Why does this happen? Why would they do it? Who motivates these people to this extent?

Terrorism, from what I am trying to understand, is not just the national attacks, suicide bombings, hijacks. The violent acts harming innocent or unarmed masses, rebellion of students in universities can also be termed as terrorism. Before I start to read - although I have just started reading on the topic - when I was thinking about terrorism, I imagined about the terrorism in Kashmir, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, the hugely hyped 9/11 attack on the twin towers, and such major events. But then I realized that its just a part of terrorism, though the events which have occurred are major ones.

I came to know that a student rebellion, which is against an institution, organization or university can also be called as terrorism. The protests, rallies, sometimes create destruction in the offices or campuses of the university, mostly not harming the innocents. I feel myself as a terrorist as well, when I recall those moments of my college life. We all did rebellions against the university for certain demands in favor of the students. We used to go out for rallies and protests on the road of Pune, walking or sometimes on our bikes. Only once we had the interference of police and the leaders of our rebellion were arrested for a short period of time. Luckily, I wasn't any of the leaders and also not present there at that time.

One more question I am thinking on is, why is the Islamic religion usually under the suspect of terrorism? Almost all the names we hear about the terrorists or terrorist organizations, those are from the islamic religion. I have a lot of good friends who are from the same religion and sometimes are frustrated due to these acts, as the whole religion becomes a target due to some minorities.

Being a graduate from a design school and advertising and illustration as my major subjects, I want to concentrate on an advertising campaign for counter terrorism. Use of visual communication to make people be aware and understand about any suspicious acts going around them, which would lead to any violence. I want to understand how people communicate regarding these issues, like websites, posters, rallies - like the recent ones in Mumbai after the mumbai terror attacks- , news papers, etc. Other things I want to understand is the design of building structures. If we consider the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal station in Mumbai and compare it with the Kings Cross station in London, what are the major differences in the two in terms of security?

These are some of my ideas and future prospects of my research on my masters project. Please suggest or comment about your views, or any valuable information you have, which would help me explore the subject.