The Potential of Transnational Cinema to Counter Islamic Extremism

CTX Journal, Vol. 4, No. 4, November 2014

20 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2015

See all articles by Samuel William Bettwy

Samuel William Bettwy

Thomas Jefferson School of Law; USD School of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2014


U.S. strategists and policy makers recognize that the so-called War on Terror is a “war of ideas” in which the Western world needs to “tell its story better.” Much has been written about the use of new social media such as Twitter to drive and shape political narratives, but history shows the potential “soft” power of propaganda films as well. Today, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that in Western democracies, cinema is the sole province of commercial filmmakers who are driven not by politics but by profits and therefore the appetites of their audiences. This article revisits literature on the propaganda value of cinema and suggests that the emergence of transnational filmmaking presents an opportunity for greater collaboration between U.S. and Middle Eastern filmmakers to produce films designed to unify moderate Muslims against Islamic extremist messages and perhaps even to dissuade some of those extremists from their incorrect interpretations of Islam.

Keywords: Terrorism, Counterterrorism, Film Studies

Suggested Citation

Bettwy, Samuel William, The Potential of Transnational Cinema to Counter Islamic Extremism (November 1, 2014). CTX Journal, Vol. 4, No. 4, November 2014, Available at SSRN:

Samuel William Bettwy (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

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USD School of Law ( email )

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