“Traitor,” is a must see movie for anyone interested in delving deep into the bowels of the jihad netherworld where Islamic revolution is at the core of international terror. It was recommended to me by a close friend whose opinions and judgement I respect. He was right on.
This is not just another suspense/thriller replete with chases, Karate fights, crashing cars and bombed buildings, though there is plenty of that. The movie is also a learning experience for us who wish to know more about the internal mind-set of jihadists and methodologies used by terrorists in executing their mission all over the world.
Don Cheadle plays a Sudanese-born, American citizen educated and trained in the art of making bombs who finds himself caught up in the complex world of counter-terrorism, CIA, FBI and the radical Islamic underworld, while used as a tool by the plotters of terror. Without unveiling too much of the story, suffice to say Cheadle tackles a complex role inextricably caught in a vice between conscience, faith and duty, and he does it well.
To me, the most profound scene of all is one that is relatively obscure in any of the trailers and/or commentary. But it stood out like an epiphany. Cheadle’s character meets up with high level jihad organizers at a local Paris bistro. (Or was it London?) As Cheadle arrives, he notices that the slick, well-dressed boss, Fareed, is enjoying a glass of wine. Astonished at this violation of Islamic law, Fareed smiles and informs Cheadle that it’s all right. He informs Cheadle that he also eats pork sometimes. “Taqiyya,” he comments with a smile. In war, one must be like the enemy to defeat the enemy. Blend in. It’s okay to deceive, if it serves Allah and furthers the cause of spreading Islam.
This is something I already knew from researching and studying Islamic history and the Koran. I was surprised to see it boldly portrayed, non-politically correct, in a Hollywood movie.
When Fareed uttered that, I immediately thought about the nineteen suicide terrorists from 9/11, and of the months preceding the most successful and bloodiest terror act in history when they lived among society in various parts of the country, including south Florida, partying, drinking alcohol, and commiserating with women, all for the purpose of appearing “normal.” Blending in. Then I thought about the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of jihadists presently blending amid the free world, …London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Washington D.C….everywhere.
They blend within businesses, universities, banks, religious institutions and, yes, government.
Some may even pretend to be another religion. If it furthers the cause, it is acceptable.
With one exception the entire cast gave an award winning performance. Cheadle may well have earned an Oscar nomination. I could also see a Best Supporting nomination for French-born Moroccan actor, SaVd Taghmaoui, who does a powerful job portraying Cheadles’ mentor in terror. Neal McDonough’s role as an FBI agent didn’t fit for me. He reminded me of a Malibu surfing “B” actor reciting lines.
Naturally, there were some implausibles and a couple of scenes that didn’t seem to fit reality, but that’s normal when true life is relegated to the fiction pen. Ironically, the story was originally written by none other than a famous comedian, Steve Martin. How’s that for a juxtaposition?
On a scale of one to ten: 8
Suggested links and reading:
From the Quran, Surah 16.106:
“He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief– on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.”