All that “jihad” business? Pah! Just a misunderstanding!
“Quran Compatible With American Values, Filmmaker Says,” by Trevor Williams in Global Atlanta, March 6 (thanks to Abelard):
Despite a perceived cultural clash between the West and Islam, many of the values upheld by Americans are also enshrined in the religion’s holy book, the Quran, an Indian filmmaker said in Atlanta.
“The Quran is already there, it’s being played out every day, day in and day out in American life,” said Faruq Masudi, who is promoting his newest movie in Georgia. “To say that American lifestyle or society is at loggerheads with the concept of the Quran is very, very wrong.”
Mr. Masudi, who hails from northern India, has produced soap operas and other TV shows in multiple languages for distribution in India, Pakistan and around the Middle East.
He had already produced two feature films in Hindi and Arabic, but his latest project was filmed entirely in the U.S., in English, with a cast of American scholars.
Titled “Quran: Contemporary Connections,” the film blends genres but mostly resembles a documentary, which Mr. Masudi hopes will correct much of what he calls “misinformation” about Islam in America.
Unfortunately for Mr. Masudi, all too many of those who are misinformed about Islam are Muslims themselves.
“I felt, like most of the Muslims, that we are not being perceived in the way we should be,” Mr. Masudi said.
In his view, it’s partly the responsibility of Muslims to remedy that problem.
No kidding, really? In reality, it is entirely the responsibility of Muslims to remedy that problem. The common charge is that Muslims “are not being perceived in the way” they “should be” because venomous Islamophobes, motivated by hatred, racism, bigotry, keep connecting Islam with acts of violence and hatred. One wonders why Muslims keep getting singled out for this treatment, while these vile racists never seem to take similar pains to associate Buddhism with violence.
And the answer is that it is Muslims themselves, not non-Muslims, who keep associating Islam with violence and hatred. Consider, to take just the most recent example, the Egyptian Muslim cleric who declared his undying hatred for Jews and justified it with copious Qur’an quotes. Whose responsibility is it to “remedy the problem” that this man’s words represent? Is the perception of Islam and Muslims that this cleric creates a correct or an incorrect one — and ultimately, does that even matter, as long as there are large numbers of Muslims, some of whom occupy positions of power and influence, who believe as he does? Will the soothing words of this filmmaker make this cleric start preaching that Muslims should show love for Jews?
Aside from being a business venture, the film is Mr. Masudi’s effort to increase awareness about his faith and build intercultural understanding that leads to peace.
Then he should direct his efforts toward changing the mind of that cleric and others like him, rather than toward non-Muslims.
Although he maintains good relationships with non-Muslim colleagues and acquaintances, Mr. Masudi decided to make the film when he noticed that many people still don’t understand how Islam — a 1,400-year-old faith — fits into a modern context.
As the “fountainhead” for all Islamic belief, the Quran is the perfect place to begin showing how Islam is compatible with Western values, Mr. Masudi said.
For instance, the role of women in Muslim countries often comes under fire from human rights activists in America, but Mr. Masudi said his film shows that the Quran actually grants women equality in wealth, social status, religion and marital contracts.
“If you ask me, there are more rights than men, contrary to what many people think,” Mr. Masudi said….
More rights than men! Wow! Let’s take a look!
The Qur’an likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will” (2:223).
The Qur’an also declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (2:282).
It allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice” (4:3).
It rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (4:11).
Worst of all, the Qur’an tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them” (4:34).
It allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (65:4).
Why don’t people realize how wonderful the Qur’an is for women? Why, it’s the media’s fault, of course!
The media shoulders some of the blame for allowing stereotypes to take root. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Americans became obsessed with the hunt for one man — Osama bin Laden — and hasn’t been able to see the millions of Muslims around them who are contributing to their communities, he said.
As far as news is concerned, “Being good is no good, you know? Being bad is good because bad sells,” he added.
“One Osama bin Laden sells all across the world, but there are millions of non-Osama bin Ladens who are doing absolutely wonderful work not only for Muslims but for non-Muslims as well.”
Can we get some names, please?
The film tackles the Islamic views of war and jihad, sex, polygamy and other issues that have become controversial and sensationalized.
Yeah, that strike at the Twin Towers — what Islamophobic sensationalism!