My Brother The Islamist: Dealing with the shock and hurt
Robb Leech and his brother Rich, now known as Salahuddin in My Brother The Islamist
Luckily, the family were supportive. None of us knew anything about these sinister jihadists who Rich now regarded as brothers, or what they believed in, or even what Rich was like, now he had changed his name to Salahuddin and was calling for Sharia law across the UK. I wanted to get to the bottom of things and although the situation was extremely sensitive and upsetting for the family, I think they understood that making a film was my way of doing this, and if what I discovered on my journey could go some way to lift the ominous dark clouds of the unknown, they would stand behind me.
There were moments of real shock and hurt, such as when Rich told me he wouldn't shake my hand because I was a dirty kafir or when I watched as he and the brothers publicly burned the American flag on the anniversary of 9/11. But since the documentary, there have been moments of real hope too. I recently met with Rich after he had been given the rare opportunity of a preview. His feelings were mixed, but after we had finished talking and I had got back into my car, I noticed he was walking back towards me. I switched off the engine and got out. He shook my hand "...sorry about the handshaking thing" he said "I didn't mean to cause offence..." I drove away with a smile on my face; it was comforting to know that things can change, even if only with a fleeting handshake.
Robb Leech directs My Brother The Islamist. You can watch the documentary at 9pm tonight on BBC Three.
For more information about the programme and links to discover more about Islam, visit the My Brother The Islamist website.
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