World Religion Day (16 January) aims to promote understanding and peace across religions, and encouraging people to learn more about different faiths and worldviews. In this week’s featured documentaries, we explore how religion can become deeply entrenched in our society and radicalise people’s lives.

1. Jihad Jane

Jihad Jane tells the stories of Colleen LaRose (Jihad Jane) and Jamie Paulin Ramirez (Jihad Jamie)—two blue-eyed, blonde suburban women from the U.S.—who were radicalised by Islamic extremists online and brought into an al-Qaeda plot to kill ‘Mohammed’ cartoonist, Lars Vilks. Both were revealed as fragile and damaged women who had a history of abuse and were looking to find a sense of belonging.

2. The Armour of Light

Tales of The Grim Sleeper explores why Lonnie Franklin Jr., a serial killer who may have killed over 100 victims, mostly Black and underprivileged women, was finally arrested after a 25-year killing spree not because of a police investigation, but an accidental computer DNA match. The film tells a story of cruel crimes, an indifferent police force, and a community abandoned by the rest of society.

3. Kumaré

A provocative social experiment-turned-documentary, Kumaré follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he poses himself as an enlightened guru from the East, in an attempt to question the meaning of religion and spirituality. After adopting a false Indian accent and growing out his hair and beard, he travels to Arizona to spread his made-up philosophy and gain a loyal following of disciples.

4. People You May Know

The film follows Charles Kriel—specialist specialist advisor to UK Parliament on disinformation—as he discovers political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA) collaborating with a software company to create a microtargeting platform for US churches, targeting and radicalising vulnerable people into far-right politics. Partly exposé, partly a snapshot of where we are as a society, this is no ordinary documentary.

5. Shooting of the Pontiff

On 13 May 1981, Pope John Paul II was crossing St. Peter’s Square in an open Jeep among thousands of cheering people. Suddenly, three shots rang out across the square. The Pope collapsed. The would-be assassin was chased and arrested. As surgeons fought to save the Pope’s life, theories about the attack was already circulating. Shooting of the Pointiff features exclusive eye-witness accounts and scientific reconstructions, piecing together the attack in order to clarify an extremely complex affair.


Start streaming the featured titles and more of the best documentaries from around the world with a free trial on www.iwonder.com today. Film availability may vary according to country.