Glorifying ISIS? New British Drama Under Fire for Its Depiction of the Islamic State

'The State,' a new British Channel 4 mini-drama that depicts young people who travel to Syria to join Islamic State has attracted criticism

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Screen shot from "The State," a new Channel 4 drama about ISIS
Screen shot from "The State," a new Channel 4 drama about ISISCredit: Screen shot
Itamar Zohar
Itamar Zohar

A four-part mini-series about young Britons who travel to Syria to join ISIS, called "The State," premiered on Britain's Channel 4 on Sunday, with the first episode attracting 1.4 million viewers. The show, however, has attracted criticism.

In The Mail on Sunday, Bethany Haines, whose father was decapitated by Islamic State people in Syria in 2014 after he was held prisoner for about a year and a half, implored the heads of the channel not to broadcast the series, which was produced in cooperation with the National Geographic Channel.

Trailer | The State | New Drama | Coming Soon

“The violence in the drama would be upsetting to anyone," she wrote “but I think it would be particularly horrifying for those affected by the events of the last few days,” referring to the events in Barcelona,

According to The Daily Mail, the series risks “glorifying the violence of the murderous group.”

Channel 4 told The Guardian that “the drama is based on extensive factual research and offers an unflinching insight into the horrific actions of IS which we believe is an important subject to confront and explore.”

The director, Peter Kosminsky, a British Jew, won praise and fame for his television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel “Wolf Hall.” His Israel-themed mini-series, The Promise, however, was also subjected to criticism when it was broadcasted on Channel 4 in 2011.

The promise focused on a young British woman who comes to Israel to visit a friend of hers who is enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces and discovers a diary her grandfather, a British soldier, had written during World War II. Many British Jews protested the broadcast of the mini-series, large parts of which were filmed in Israel. One of the cast members was Israeli actor Itay Tiran, whom the protesters say protrayed IDF soldiers in a negative light.

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