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DUGMA: The Button - '58 on - The Best Documentaries... Instantly On Demand

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An intimate portrait of a group of very different suicide bombers working for Al Qaeda in Syria. From the Saudi who loves singing and fried chicken, to a 26-year-old white British convert who worries a lot about his new wife, this remarkable film embeds with an unlikely bunch of "martyrdom seekers", each waiting for their turn to go on a final mission, known by Jihadis as 'Dugma'.

Qaswara shows us around his heavily armoured suicide truck, pointing to an innocuous little red button in the dashboard, "'Dugma' is the button you push when you reach the enemy", he says with a smile and a click of his fingers. "You release the safety and push the button, and you are in paradise".

The ebullient 32-year-old once lived a life of comfort with his wife and two young children in Mecca, but Qaswara left everything he had to travel to Syria and join Jhabat al-Nusra. In the quiet of his messy shelter, Qaswara chats to his mother by mobile phone, and watches video clips of his daughter's first steps. "I haven't seen her personally. I have only seen her on video", he says. "She wasn't born yet when I left."

Qaswara will likely never meet his daughter. He has now spent two years on his militia's most exclusive waiting list. When the moment is right, he is due to commandeer the huge fortified truck rigged with four tonnes of explosives, and blow himself up behind enemy lines.

Another of the team is the disaffected British convert son of an American father and English mother. Londoner Abu Basir al-Britani also felt the religious pull of martyrdom in Syria. "Britain is a miserable place to live" he jokes. "I saw myself as a little different to the people around me, and I questioned a lot more". Surfing You Tube he merrily scoffs at the "bullshit" of US foreign policy statements on the middle-east.

But the newly married Brit experiences a new perspective after his wife falls pregnant. For the first time he becomes apprehensive about his mission and the difficulty of rationalising suicide, alongside fatherhood. "If I take a conscious decision to press the button... they will not forgive me".

"It is a big question, it is about human life, the most precious thing you have" says a wounded jihadist, lecturing a worried Qaswara. "Your motivation must be to liberate Muslim cities... to help the oppressed people of Allah".

In scenes of contemplative beauty and intimacy, this profound documentary lays bare the faith and doubt at the core of men who become suicide bombers.



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