On Thursday 14th of November 2019, Imam Shakeel Begg of the Lewisham Islamic Centre was invited to watch the play by the political activist Anders Lustgarten, ‘Extremism’, at the Peckham Theatre.
The play highlights the plight of a Muslim child at Secondary School, Jamal, who is taken away from school by police officers as part of the PREVENT policy. With the children in his class unaware as to the reason for his removal, the audience is thrown into the repercussions that incidents such as this can have on the thoughts and perceptions of others, and how those thoughts are shaped by people’s own experiences, stereotypes and prejudices. And all too often as is accurately captured in the play, the person who bares the brunt of these prejudices is a hijab wearing Muslim girl at the school.
Imam Shakeel states:
“With a captivating script, excellent direction, and great production, the play is a powerful depiction of what life is like for Muslims inthe UK today. Raw and gritty, an emotional roller coaster episode which in parts made for difficult watching, but which never abandoned that most fundamental of human instincts –hope. Sorrow, joy, laughter, tears, and hope were wonderful ingredients narrated by the great performances. This theatre engaged people in ways that other approaches have not. The post show Q&A showed the great insight that many now have about the disastrous PREVENT policy and its impact on the Muslim community”.
Changing social attitudes to end discrimination is a long term process but plays such as this increase inter-community understanding and empathy and builds social cohesion through which discriminatory attitudes can be more successfully challenged and corrected.
The show is on until 23 November. The Lewisham Islamic Centre and Imam Shakeel are deeply grateful to Anders Lustgarten and the Peckham Theatre for highlighting the real and devastating impact of cold and faceless government policies such as PREVENT, and strongly recommend everyone goes and see the production.
For more information regarding the play refer to the following link: