23. November 2012
Siham Abu Awwad, Palestinian mother
Bouchra, mother of Mahmoud, Palestine
Bothaina, mother of Ahmed, Palestine
Vicky Ibrahim, mother of Andrew, UK
Aicha el-Wafi, mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, France
Film by Sisters Against Violent Extremism
“Your Mother” captures the stories of mothers in Palestine, France and the UK whose children have committed acts of violent extremism, or who intended to do so. These brave women discuss how their children’s choices have destroyed their and their families’ lives. Looking into their mothers’ faces, sons and daughters will realize that acts of terrorism will not lead to glory, but rather the devastation of those they love most.
Watching this film, we hope that other mothers will feel empowered to take action to protect their own families. “Your Mother” is intended as a tool for those in communities who are able to drive change in a tangible and effective way. We hope that it will prompt meaningful conversations at a grass roots level around terrorism, radicalization, and the importance of women in preventing it.
Aicha el-Wafi, Mother of Zacarias Moussaoui
Aicha el-Wafi is the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person ever to be tried in a US court on charges of having been involved in the September 11 attacks. Zacarias is currently serving a life sentence at the Federal ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
“I don’t know if he’s alive, if he suffers or if he’s dead… I just don’t know.”
“Strangers come and give orders to my son not to respect me? What is that about? The Prophet said -‘Your mother, your mother, your mother’ and the other asked -‘What about my father?’ and he replied -‘Yes, your father…’ But he insisted on respect for the mother three times! And the extremists say ‘don’t listen to your mother’? That’s Islam? No, that’s not Islam.”
Bothaina, Mother of Ahmed
Bothaina, also known as Um Ahmed, is a Palestinian mother from the West Bank. Her eldest son Ahmed killed himself in a suicide attack at the age of 17.
“I was planning for him to go to university, every time I walk passed the university I start crying. Every time I see one of his friends I start crying.”
“When Ahmed passed and I went to his funeral, I wish I had died with him and not felt this enormous pain.”
“I wish all young people could feel with their mothers, fathers, relatives and realise how much they will suffer and struggle their whole lives. It’s true they will be gone forever but their families will still be there…”
Vicky Ibrahim, Mother of Andrew (Isa)
Vicky’s son Andrew was arrested in April 2008 and convicted of plotting to blow up a shopping centre in Bristol. He is currently serving a minimum of 10 years in prison.
“It was midnight and the police came to visit us, and told us Andy had been arrested on terrorism charges. We were shocked. How could OUR son be involved in something like this?”
“It’s an impossible situation, every day is a struggle.”
“You try to give a sense of normality, but inside you’re crying.”
Siham Abu Awwad, Palestinian Mother
Siham Abu Awwad is an activist and mother from the Beit Umar village of Palestine. Siham lost her younger brother, whom she had raised like a son, during the second Palestinian Intifada.
“I think bombing himself will not serve anyone, it will not help anyone, and it will not bring anyone back either. The only fact that I will face at the end of the day after he kills himself is that I will be a bereaved mother, and I’m not sure I can deal with that.”
“It’s the same message for my son and for all kids, all young people everywhere: violence will never bring anything. Violence will only bring more violence.”
Bouchra, Mother of Mahmoud
Bouchra is a Palestinian mother from Beit Ummar who lost her son Mahmoud in the conflict. She believes education is key for the prevention of violent extremism in Palestine.
“The most important message to mothers is to encourage their sons to get a good education. Education is the most important weapon we have in this world.”