Face to Face with the Muslim “Other”: European Cinematic Responses to Al-Qaeda
Abstract: The bombings on March 11, 2004 in Madrid and on July 7, 2005 in London brought terror to the heart of Europe and amplified the feelings of fear, disbelief and suspicion developed as a consequence of 9/11 trauma. This article departs from Hollywood discourses on international terrorism to investigate how European cinema reflected upon these tragedies. Focusing on the films Fremder Freund (The Friend, Elmar Fischer, 2003)and London River (Rachid Bouchareb, 2009), it outlines the peculiarities of European cinema in dealing with international terrorism and thus analyses the representation of Islamic fundamentalism and more generally, Muslim communities. The films stimulate the public debate about contemporary society and the role of British and German institutions in developing “home-grown” terrorists. The article argues that these films avoid any explicit attempts of commemorating and memorialising these tragic events, but they contextualise the attacks engaging with issues of multiculturalism rather than commenting on the problem of international crime and terrorism.