Western “political correctness” about Islam has not only led to terrorist attacks in European, Israeli, and American cities—but it has now also led to the cruel abandonment of the Yazidi and Christian sex slaves still being tortured by ISIS.
In 2014, Sister Hatune Dogan had been rescuing Christian and Yazidi girls from ISIS captivity for eight months, but she was desperate. If only the world could see the harm being done, understand that rescues were possible, people would open their hearts and their wallets.
Sister Hatune and her international director, Hans Erling Jensen, found an independent British filmmaker, Edward Watts. In an email dated February 6, 2015, Watts’s producer, Rosie Garthwaite, wrote: "Hatune you will be the lead story in a documentary about women living under IS.”
Watts spent nine days in Germany, Turkey, and Iraq with Sister Hatune. She introduced him to Sheikh Khaire, the head of the powerful local relief organization Ezdan Humanity, and to his co-workers, Sheikh Hassan and Khalil. The girls and their families would never have agreed to talk to him, or to be filmed, without Sister Hatune's having persuaded them that doing so would allow her to rescue more girls. She also served as Watt's interpreter.
However, Watts removed the nun from his prize-winning film, Escape from ISIS. He did not tell viewers to send funds to the Hatune Foundation to help with further rescues.
Watts decided that the rescues could take a back seat while he set up his own online charity to build a psychiatric center in the UK, to do the work that the Hatune Foundation had already been doing for years.
Now, with the French and American retaliatory bombing raids of ISIS, Watts may also have inadvertently condemned the captive girls to death.
At one of his many sites, Watts claims to have raised 37,000 pounds.
Until his own charity is up and running, Watts directs people to the Amar Foundation. He also names one of Sister Hatune's go-betweens, Khaleel, and directs that funds be sent to him via the Amar Foundation, via Western Union (!), or to a Jerusalem-based foundation, The Springs of Hope, which, he alleges, sends couriers into ISIS territory with money.
On November 13th of this year, Watts wrote to me: “Anyone looking for information on how to help the rescues and contribute to the rehabilitation of the freed women can find information on my blog: www.edwardwattsfilms.com/blog and look for the two entries marked 'Donations'.”
Is Watts simply out to personally capitalize on human tragedy? That’s been known to happen. Has he cut a deal with one of Hatune’s "fixers" or go-betweeens? That's also been known to happen in this part of the world.
Or, is this a matter of political differences trumping a matter of life and death and riding roughshod over the truth?
That seems to be the case.
On July 29, 2015, two weeks after his film aired in the United States on Frontline on PBS and in Britain on Channel 4, Watts testified before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the American Congress. He told the Committee that: "It's worth noting that ISIS's extreme interpretation of Islam is not shared by the majority of Muslims in the territory under their control." Watts said that only Yazidis are kept as sex slaves because they are not considered People of the Book as Christians are.
This is a lie. Muslims have been kidnapping, torturing, enslaving, and murdering Christians merely because they are Christians for centuries, both in Iraq and in other Muslim countries. Sr. Hatune fled Muslim persecution in Turkey where the Muslim genocide of Christians (Armenians) took place.
Sister Hatune does have a different view of ISIS and of Islam.
According to Hans Erling Jensen the film's producers explained that “her prominent statements about Islam and ISIS would shift the focus of the discussion about the film and would overshadow the relief work.”
Sr. Hatune said that “Islam is ISIS and ISIS is Islam; they would have a lot in common, even though ISIS pursues them with more barbaric means.” Sr. Hatune also mentioned that “atrocities like beheadings and crucifixions [are] justified by verses in the Quran, and have been going on in Iraq long before ISIS. Saudi Arabia is also conducting beheadings and other draconian punishments.”
I just spoke to producer Rosie Garthwaite who, after claiming that Hatune herself refused to be seen on camera (not true) and that her foundation did not “meet the requirements of a UK charity” (probably true), admitted to me that Hatune had to be cut out of the film because “her views are viciously anti-Muslim, anyone can google her and see that and we felt it would hurt the film.”
Clearly, Watt’s and Garthwaite’s concern was all about the film, not about the girls.
The Hatune Foundation accepts donations here.