London: The UK Foreign Office has been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money for designing an animated film to stop Muslim teenagers from becoming Islamic extremists.
Officials have spent nearly GBP 33,000 on ‘Wish You Waziristan’, a tale of two young British Muslim brothers who decide to join a group of Islamic fighters on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The cartoon, which combines computer game-style graphics and teenage street slang, opens with a failed attempt by the brothers to launch a grenade from a mountain top in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.
The story is told from the point of view of the unnamed younger brother, who has little time for the cause and has agreed to become involved only out of respect for his elder brother Abu.
The brothers are then shown watching a series of training videos featuring Osama bin Laden before joining the fighters in Waziristan.
Critics, including members of the Muslim community, have questioned the wisdom of the film, which has been branded naive and simplistic, the Daily Mail reports.
Dr Mohammad Shahid Raza, an imam at Leicester Central Mosque, criticised the film and said the descriptions of the fighters, the brothers encounter are particularly unrealistic.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the founder of the Muslim Institute think-tank, said the film would have been more effective if it had confined itself to the issue of the racism.
“It should have asked its audience to concentrate on that rather than going off at a tangent. What follows is a waste of time,” said Siddiqui.
A company called Bold Creative, which specialises in educational films aimed at teenagers, has produced the film.