Published in Al Qalam newspaper
A group of young Muslim women, working under the brand of Faithworks, have launched an exciting documentary screening project, the aim of which is to showcase alternate expressions of Islam, fostering inter and intra-religious tolerance.
Months of tireless work to secure licenses and funding to screen the movies and grapple with the logistics, have finally paid off, and the response from the Johannesburg community has been overwhelming.
Muslims are not a monolith, and the world over, articulate their faith in diverse ways. Using the power of film, Faithworks hopes to showcase some of these different expressions, as well to explore divisive issues, especially related to the arts, gender, spirituality and politics. (photo via Safeeyah Kharsany)
The first documentary, screened at the Majestic Cinema in Fordburg, Johannesburg, was “New Muslim Cool”, a docu-drama concerning an American rap artist, and former drug-dealer and his journey to Islam, as well the way in which he extended his love for rap, into Islam. It also deals with issues pertinent to Muslim minorities living in a post 9/11 world. The rise of Islamic hip-hop culture is unprecedented, and the film portrays its appeal.
By screening movies which speak to the hearts and minds of Muslims, Faithworks hopes to create a platform for healthy discussion about issues which Muslims have always differed about. Only through understanding the other, they believe, can we move forward as a community and face the gross misrepresentations of Islam currently on the global-stage.
The films are not chosen for their controversial nature, but for their ability to inspire and spark reflection. Forthcoming movies include “Veiled Voices”, documenting the challenges facing female religious leaders in the Middle East, “Inshallah Beijing” about the Palestinian Olympic team’s struggle to make it, “Me and the Mosque” following acclaimed Canadian producer Zarqa Nawaz’s efforts for women’s for inclusion in sacred spaces, and “Le Grande Voyage”, a poignant father-son journey over land, to Makkah.
The screenings are scheduled to take place every six weeks, and are open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Faithworks welcomes suggestions, feedback and requests for more information which can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.