“I found it alarming, but most of all I found I illuminating. It’s a portrait of Maulana Aziz, who runs the Red Mosque in Pakistan, which is basically the recruiting series of madrasses,” says film critic Owen Gleiberman, describing the documentary Among the Believers. “You see these children being indoctrinated, where all day long all they do is memorise the Koran.”
The feature has just screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Directors Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi show how the Pakistani cleric is preaching to children as young as four in his network of Islamic seminaries: the film opens with a young boy delivering a vitriolic sermon.
Gleiberman joins Slate writer Aisha Harris to discuss the successes so far at the Festival – as well as the event’s drawbacks. “It wants to be the kind of festival that really influences the films that people see around the world,” Gleiberman tells Tom Brook. “So far, it’s not really fulfilling that ambition. I hope it does.”
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