Story pitch

Digital Story Pitch, on Jihad and Terrorism

In the past few years of conducting workshops on world history and teaching about religions, specifically Islam in world history, I get a recurring question. That question is whether Terrorism = Jihad, and whether or not it is condoned by Islamic teachings, as extremists and critics of Islam claim. The objective of the story is to lay out the Islamic principles and sources according to which suicide attacks and other forms of targeting civilians cannot have legitimacy, and to lay out the principles that make it a criminal act, not a praiseworthy act. The problem of equating jihad and holy war will need to be part of that, but I don’t want it to be central, since there are more important points to make.

In terms of how the story will be told, I was reading about story mapping in the Ohler DST book, and find the model of the core story compelling for the way it moves from awareness to discovery and change. I was skeptical at first, but then the author convinced me that it is viable for narratives that are not “story-like”. I intend to map the story and then do a storyboard before attempting to write a script–also Ohler’s influence.
The pattern I want to follow–building on what is required to convey to the listener–is to make four or five arguments based on principles in Islamic teachings–very solidly grounded ones (not fuzzy interpretive things). These segments counter the facile equation “terrorism = jihad” by showing that no such equation is possible, because it violates multiple, foundational principles.

I intend to use video, text, and image, and in our first evening of brainstorming our pitches, the suggestion was made in my group to make each point using a different approach to the type of presentation, i.e. images only, a talking head, a video segment with voiceover, etc. I will have to think which type will be most appropriate for each, but of course getting the footage, images, etc. will be difficult, so I may not achieve the optimal mix. Must learn quite a few new skills with video editing.

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