February 7, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6294

New Jordanian Play Seeks To Discourage Young People From Joining Terrorist Organizations

February 7, 2016
Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 6294

As part of the Jordanian efforts to combat the phenomenon of young people joining terrorists organizations,[1] Jordanian artists Rania Isma'il and Hassan Sabaileh put on a play titled "Terrorism at the Door," which is now being performed to audiences of students at various universities throughout Jordan. The play deals with domestic violence and the social marginalization of young people, which drive them to embrace radical ideologies and join terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (ISIS).[2] Every performance is followed by a discussion about the factors that impel young people to join terrorist organizations, during which members of the audience are invited to raise ideas and offer solutions.[3]

Jordanian author and journalist Hussein Al-'Amoush discussed the play in a December 22, 2015 article in the daily Al-Dustour, praising it and describing it as an effective means of delivering a social message to the younger generation.

Below are translated excerpts from his article:[4]

 Poster for the play (, October 10, 2015)

"I had the opportunity to see the play 'Terrorism at the Door,' by artists Hassan Sabaileh and Rania Isma'il, at the World Islamic Science & Education University. The play, which is currently being performed at universities in Jordan, exposes [the phenomenon of] terror and the methods by which terrorist organizations recruit young Jordanians are while exploiting [their] weak psychological makeup. It touches on sensitive issues and diagnoses the situation and the harsh economic reality of Jordanians that make them succumb, like easy prey, to the financial inducements offered by the terror organizations. The play, which was metriculously written and performed, reflects our human, economic and collegiate reality. It places [this reality] on stage and points to a fact that we do not talk about, [namely that] one of our major problems is a lack of communication between fathers and their sons, to the extent that the father is surprised when his son becomes a member in a terror cell or organization. This shocks us and causes us to start seeking solutions, although the solution is within our grasp.

"The most important [part] of the play is the final scene, where the son reveals the explosive belt that he put on in preparation for blowing himself up. The play concludes with a major question that is presented to the students [in the audience], in the method of interactive theatre: 'And you, what is your opinion?' [Listening to the replies,] I heard diverse logical, clear and courageous views, indicating that the play managed to deliver its message quickly and easily. This means that we have excellent tools for delivering any social message to our sons the students, who are the target audience here.

"Time after time we can say that art creates politics... and effective performances of this sort can convey the message through humor, though [the topic] is a sad one. We have creative artists such as Hassan, Rania and the team of actors, but such a work needs a nourishing environment, tools and resources... In other words it needs state and government [sponsorship and assistance]..."

The final scene of the play, where the son reveals his explosive belt (image:

Isma'il and Sabaileh also created two short animation films in the spirit of the play, also titled "Terrorism at the Door," which are posted to YouTube. These films likewise show a young man who feels neglected by his parents and even disrespected and humiliated by them, and therefore turns to ISIS websites that promise to transform him into a glorious commander..."[5]

To view excerpts from the films, click below.



[2], December 2, 2015.

[3] Al-Ghad (Jordan), December 2, 2015; Al-Rai (Jordan), December 7, 2015.

[4] Al-Dustour Jordan), December 22, 2015.


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