The Believers Are But Brothers
Billed as an electronic maze of fantasists, meme culture, 4chan, the alt-right and ISIS, The Believers Are But Brothers is a play that addresses political and religious extremism, digital technology and male violence. Javaad Alipoor invites the audience to witness the resentment and violence that are eating away at the structures of the 20th century and, with the rise of the far right across the globe, giving birth to the 21st.
Four months after its premiere at Transform 17 in Leeds, The Believers Are But Brothers emerged as the buzz production of the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Two years later it was made into a BBC film that was broadcast as part of a series marking the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web. “No one I know watches on a TV set now,” Alipoor told The Guardian, so he made the film “expecting most people to watch on their laptops.”
“Alipoor’s Edinburgh festival show, ‘The Believers Are But Brothers,’ . . . explores how not just Muslims, but young men from many different backgrounds have become immersed in extremism online. Soon the messages I’m receiving turn darker and I don’t know who they are coming from. There is threatening talk of whiny feminists and what the sender would like to do to them, language reflecting the Gamergate saga. . . . Meanwhile, young men with uncertain futures watch glossy, Hollywood-style Isis propaganda and reckon that being a jihadist looks a lot like ‘Game of Thrones’ and might beat a life stacking shelves in Tesco.”