Hometown: A Killing review: An honest look at a difficult subject
Helen Archer | On 19, Jun 2019
This six-part box set follows journalist Mobeen Azhar as he returns to his home town of Birkby, Huddersfield, to investigate the death of Mohammed Yassar Yaqub, who was shot by police in his car in 2017, provoking a ‘Justice 4 Yassar’ campaign. Starting off as a trip down memory lane as Mobeen visits the place he grew up in – and bumps into the people he went to school with – he finds that people are unwilling to talk openly about the circumstances surrounding Yassar’s death.
He soon discovers that things have changed quite dramatically in the 20-odd years since he’s been there. Weapons now proliferate and young men are turning to drug dealing. There’s a potted history here of first generation immigrants, and a look at how life has shifted, as Mobeen speaks to people whose lives have been impacted by drugs and violence. There is also a look at the impact of Islamophobia and bigotry, and the ways in which it can silence a community.
This is an occasionally uncomfortable watch – at times, it feels like victim blaming, as Yassar’s involvement in the drugs trade is investigated and Yassar’s dad quickly stops speaking to Mobeen. But it’s also an honest look at a subject that is difficult to broach, and feels it can only – or best – be done by someone like Mobeen, who grew up in the community and can bring a clarity that might otherwise be obfuscated.
Hometown: A Killing is available on BBC iPlayer until June 2022