“El Erhaby” - Egypt Today “El Erhaby” - Egypt Today

Terrorism, Islamic extremism portrayed by Egyptian cinema (part 1)

Tue, Oct. 24, 2017
CAIRO - 24 October 2017: Egypt Today will present to you the most important Egyptian movies that tackle terrorism and Islamic extremism issues.

“El Erhaby” (The Terrorist) - 1994
“El Erhaby” is one of the most important movies and may actually be the most important movie that sheds light on terrorism as one of the most dangerous phenomena in Egypt. The movie stars Adel Emam, the number one actor in Egypt and the Middle East. He was a smart choice from the film’s director, Nader Galal. Emam’s popularity and performance delivered the movie’s important message and raised awareness about terrorism and its nature.

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“El Erhaby” poster- IMDB

Emam plays the role of Brother Ali, an Islamic radical element who is scheming against the government, as he strongly believes the government is working against Islamic principles. Ali was pushed by his poverty, his frustration, his lack of proper education and his tough social circumstances to join one of the extremist Islamic groups. It is a matter that reflected the strong relationship between these factors, terrorism and terrorist leaders. They use these factors as weak points to attract young people to join them.

Ali begins destroying and killing what he believes to be against Islam in the country, such as video shops and foreign tourists. An innocent girl named Sawsan hits him with her car while he was escaping the scene of an assassination.

Sawsan takes him to her house to live with her local modern Muslim family, who are unaware of his real identity. After living with this family, he starts to learn about tolerance and love. He sees how this family is a cohesively Muslim family that fears God and cares a lot about ethics. He then begins to rethink his beliefs, beginning to view things from new angles. The movie clearly shows how the life of terrorists may be changed if they find good guidance and proper role models. Ali is killed at the end of the movie by his former comrades after disobeying their leader. The movie was shot under complete security procedures from the police forces due to the sensitive issues that were tackled.
The terrorist groups’ members appear in the movie wearing uniforms and living in deserted places where gloom and evil prevail. These groups are led by a prince who must be obeyed blindly. The movie revealed how terrorist movements are weak and fragile deep inside. “El Erhaby” sent a clear message that whenever anyone is allowed to see the society clearly, they give up extremism. The movie stars Emam, Shereen, Madiha Yousry, Ahmed Rateb, Ibrahim Yousry, and others. “El Erhaby” was written by Linen el Ramly.

“Al-Erhab wel Kabab” (Terrorism and Kebab) – 1992
Emam again is the hero of this movie, playing the character of an ordinary Egyptian man named Ahmed who heads to the famous Mogamma government building in Tahrir Square to move his children from their current school to another one. Despite his simple demand, he becomes stuck there due to the bureaucracy, with thousands of citizens inside the building, each with their own demands.

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“Al-Erhab wel Kabab” poster- IMDB

A government employee there frustrates Ahmed because he is constantly praying in a show of alleged piety in order to avoid completing any work. This leads to a brawl between both of them, and Ahmed finds himself taking a rifle from a guard and firing shots. Ahmed accidently takes the building and those inside hostage, thus becoming a terrorist. Some of the people who were in the building join Ahmed, including Hind, a prostitute played by megastar Yousra.

Ahmed and his new comrades negotiate with the minister of interior, asking him to fulfill their common demand – kebab (grilled meat) for all the hostages, as meat is expensive for most Egyptians. The minister, who fears the building will be blown up, fulfills their humble demand. "People don't know what they want. They are crushed; their dreams are impossible; they can't believe their demands can be fulfilled; so they ask for kebab,” recounted the movie’s writer, Wahid Hamed, explaining the reason behind the kebab demand.

At the end of the movie, Ahmed asks the hostages to leave the building, assuming he will be killed. The hostages, however, insist that he should leave with them, and he walks out unnoticed among the hostages, leading to the police forces finding the building empty. The movie stars Emam, Yousra, Ahmed Rateb, Kamal el Shinawy, Enaam Salousa and Magda Zaky, among others. “Al-Erhab wel Kabab” was written by Wahid Hamed and directed by Sherif Arafa.

“Toyour al-Zalam” (The Birds of Darkness) – 1995
This movie is about three lawyer friends. The first is Fathi Nofal (Adel Emam), who turns from a man of principals to an opportunist. Later, he becomes the office manager for one of the ministers. The second is Ali al-Zanati (Riyad al-Kholi), who joins the Muslim Brotherhood and tries to make Fathi join as well. The third is Mohsen (Ahmed Rateb), who is a simple employee who decides that in order to keep his integrity, he must stay away from the conflict between the government and religious groups. Fathi, at the end of the movie, is arrested and accused of taking bribes, and he meets with his colleague, Ali. Both of them confront each other. It was said that this film was written by Wahid Hamed after his differences with Mokhtar Noah, the lawyer of the famous Islamic groups and one of its senior leaders.

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“Toyour al-Zalam” poster- IMDB

“El Khaleya” (The Cell) – 2017
The movie highlights the continuous efforts exerted by the security forces to combat terrorism, as well as the obstacles and the sufferings they face as a result of such tough work. The movie focuses on a special operations officer, performed by Egyptian megastar Ahmed Ezz. He works to stop more than one terrorist operation and arrests various terrorist cells. “El Khaleya” stars Ezz, Samer El Masrie, Mohamed Mamdouh and Amina Khalil. The movie script is written by Salah El Geheny, while Tarek El Erian wrote the story and directed the movie. The film includes a duet song between famous singers Assala and Mahmoud Elessily. “El Khaleya” is considered a high budget action movie.

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“El Khaleya” - Official Poster

Amr Salah, an officer from the special operations sector in the Ministry of Interior was sorrowfully martyred on Friday during confrontations between police forces and some terrorist elements in an oasis in the Western Desert. He also participated in “El Khaleya”, training Ezz and fellow actors on police exercises shown in the movie, as if destiny had chosen Salah to combat terrorism on real life and even through a movie. He also appeared in a few scenes in the film as an actor. He appeared in one scene changing clothes, another in a raid, and the scene of the armored vehicle, as well as most of the scenes of Ezz in the camp.
 
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