The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

"A White Woman's Documentary About Muslim Extremists Is Being Canceled. Guess Why"


An interesting article here at Reason by Robby Soave; I don't know anything else about the controversy, so I can't vouch for it, but I've generally liked Soave's work, and thought it was worth pointing to. I'd be glad to point to thoughtful contrary views, if our readers recommend them. Here are the opening paragraphs (which also link to a New York Times article on the subject), slightly reordered:

Jihad Rehab is a documentary by Meg Smaker, a former firefighter who moved from California to Yemen and then to Saudi Arabia following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…. The film centers on four men who were accused of terrorism, imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, and later sent to a rehabilitation center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The center's purpose is ostensibly to deradicalize and reintegrate its involuntary participants. The New York Times describes it as spanning "an unlikely distance between prison and boutique hotel." …

{Subsequent to its inclusion at the January 2022 Sundance Film Festival, both the film and filmmaker have become pariahs in elite film circles—mostly because Smaker, a white woman, dared to make a movie about the experience of Islamic men….

"Film critics warned that conservatives might bridle at these human portraits," notes The New York Times in a recent, much discussed article about Jihad Rehab's cancellation. "But attacks would come from the left, not the right."} …