MBC challenges extremist ideology with new drama series on woman of ISIS

Tarek Ali Ahmad
Tarek Ali Ahmad - Al Arabiya English
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The Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) is producing a 30-part drama series named ‘Black Crows’ depicting life under ISIS to be aired on MBC1 during Ramadan.

“ISIS is not only a fighting militia, ISIS is an idea and a narrative, and the only way to fight an idea and a narrative is to create another idea and another narrative that is better, more compelling and more progressive,” MBC’s Director of Television Ali Jaber told Al Arabiya English.

The drama on MBC - the biggest broadcasting network in the region - surrounds the lives of women under the rule of ISIS. From Yazidi slaves and mothers who lost their children, to the group’s extremist ideology.

“When we produce drama, or comedy or even programming, we try to reflect the issues that societies face. Nowadays, ISIS occupies a great part of what people are worried and thinking about,” Jaber said.

Researchers and writers interviewed people who ran away from the tyranny in Syria, gathering their stories about life under ISIS, Jaber explained. After listening to them, they came up with several stories that form the series.

By taking on ISIS’s ideology through the media head on, the network is putting itself in a dangerous position.

“These people do not need an excuse to attack MBC. MBC in its existence as a moderate voice in the Arab world and in our society is a contradiction to their existence,” Jaber, who is also a judge on reality TV show “Arabs Got Talent,” said.

Last year, a comedy show on the network that mocked ISIS led to death threats being sent to its star, Saudi actor Nasser al-Qasabi.

The show, as with other shows, provide the alternative ideology, being “the love of life, the artistic life, the literature and all of the arts that we are involved in at MBC,” Jaber said.

‘Black Crows’ has already began grabbing headlines worldwide, such as The New York Times, as it props itself to be one of the biggest shows of Ramadan.

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