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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 17:35 GMT
Suicide bomber play to tour
Eleanor Martin in The Truth About Your Father
Martin is a convert to Sufi Islam
A Muslim theatre company is preparing to take a play on tour in which a mother tries to explain to her son why his father became a suicide bomber.

In The Truth About Your Father, a Muslim widow tries to help her son, Jihad, come to terms with why his father killed himself. The play has only one performer, actress Eleanor Martin, who plays the mother.

The production is by the British Muslim theatre company Khayaal.

Martin told BBC World Service's Reporting Religion programme that the play has a message of peace and moderation.

"There is a point in the play where she really wants to convey to her son that he is not the son of some alien monster - he is begot of a human being, who was a very real and at one time a very loving person," she said.

"But she absolutely condemns the act, 100%, and she's determined to make sure her son understands how to see the warning signs in himself, and make sure he doesn't end up taking that route."


The Truth About Your Father is set in 2015, 10 years from the July bombings in London.

The play's writer and artistic director, Luqman Ali, explained that the main point is trying to get across is the dynamics which lead human beings to perform extreme acts.

Anger can be lethal if not tempered by compassion, he argued.

Eleanor Martin in The Truth About Your Father
I believe it will help to prevent young Muslims who may be susceptible to extremism
Luqman Ali, writer of The Truth About Your Father
"The exploration of metaphor, parable and sacred symbolism within the Sufi tradition has been always one of the primary channels for teaching - and theatre is an artform based on symbolism," he said.

"So it offers a very wide range of opportunities and possibilities in terms of how effectively one can communicate these meanings and these teachings."

One story centres on the classical allegory of the sun and the wind - where the wind uses brute force to remove a man's coat, while the sun, by its warmth, gently persuades the man to take it off.

Using this, the mother explains to her son that his father "chose to be wind - or rather, a mercilessly violent storm, taking people's lives and limbs rather than their coats."

"But the sun was in there somewhere too," she adds.

The play also explores the true definition of the son's name, Jihad - often interpreted as meaning Holy War, but actually denoting the battle to overcome internal conflict.

But Ali said that he doubted the play would influence extremists, or people "who has already chosen that as a course of action in their life."

"But what I will assert is that I believe it will help to prevent young Muslims who may be susceptible to extremism," he added.

"Personally I think that's a much more productive course of action."

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