Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged Muslim

Four Lions

Four Lions, produced and directed by Chris Morris, satirizes terrorists and the response to terrorism in modern Britain. Every character is flawed and every person is spoofed. No one is spared; police, politicians, local working stiffs, neighborhood religious fanatics, and the floozie next door are lampooned with great one-liners and riotous insults. This may sound insensitive, but the humor does not obscure hard issues. Rather, it makes them approachable: you’ll likely want to talk about this funny and unexpectedly sad film after seeing it.

Velvet Jihad: Muslim Women’s Quiet Resistance to Islamic Fundamentalism

Central to Islamic scripturalist assertion, or "Islamic fundamentalism" as it is often referred to, is the notion of the ideal Muslim woman, whose status, roles and functions are defined by rules and norms deriving from a narrow, restrictive and patriarchal reading of the Islamic scripturalist tradition. The ‘ideal’ Muslim woman in Islamic ‘fundamentalist’ discourse is defined as being submissive to male authority, while being modest and virtuous in a patriarchally-defined sense. She is to be carefully controlled and monitored, at all times, by patriarchal authority.

Veiled Voices

When people think of Muslim leaders they rarely envision women; however, many women are have made their mark as religious leaders in Islam. Veiled Voices presents the lives of three such women, allowing them to tell their own stories filled with struggle, triumph, and irony. The film centers on Ghina Hammoud from Lebanon, Huda Al-Habash from Syria, and Dr. Su’ad Saleh from Egypt.

My Name is Khan Soundtrack

My Name is Khan is a Bollywood movie that captures the post-9/11 journey of a Muslim immigrant who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The Pistachio Seller

“How does a woman fall in love?” The opening line of Reem Bassiouney’s The Pistachio Seller is dangerously full of clichéd melodrama and trite gender assumptions; however, Bassiouney avoids these pitfalls by presenting complicated characters who exhibit the complexity of religion, love, and belief. Bassiouney explains the significance of the pistachio in an Author’s Note, which reveals the historical significance of the pistachio and ties the nut to a very

A Jihad For Love

To ponder the relationship between Islam and homosexuality is to consider something that does not exist. Parvez Sharma’s groundbreaking documentary, A Jihad for Love, calls this frequently held assumption what it is: a lie.

Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman’s Journey Toward Independence

A collection of one novella and a handful of short stories, Year in the Elephant is a translation from Arabic that does a great job of painting life in Morocco prior to and after independence from the French colonial power.

Skunk Girl

Skunk Girl is Sheba Karim’s first novel. It is told from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Nina Khan, self-described as “a Pakistani Muslim girl” and from a small white town in upstate New York. Although published in 2009, the story is set in approximately 1993. In a fast-paced, entertaining read, Nina narrates her life and drama as the only Pakistani and Muslim girl in her high school.

Desiring Arabs

On September 24, 2007, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran drew derisive laughter from a group at Columbia University when he announced, "In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon." Joseph A. Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia, was likely among the few who were not mocking this assertion.

Love in a Headscarf: Muslim Woman Seeks the One

Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first heard the title, my immediate reaction was to roll my eyes. “Not again!” I thought.

The Jewel of Medina

There was a lot of manufactured controversy over The Jewel of Medina. As a practicing Muslim, I fully expected to hate it based on the very idea that it is a fictionalized account of a revered woman: A’isha, wife of our Beloved Prophet. The media made a bit of noise about how it took a particular event in A’isha’s life and twisted it into a “sexier” story. Like most Muslims, I expected it to offend me. I admit I went into reading this novel with a bias.


Reading this review will tell you all you need to know about Taken. If you haven't see the film, perhaps now is the time for you to cease reading, as spoilers abound.


Malene Choi Jensen’s InshAllah impresses with its muted visuals and quiet background score. Sabha Khan is a Danish Muslim girl, struggling to create an independent life. She is devoted to her family, has wonderfully supportive friends. She is obviously intelligent, but is unable to find work because of her religious identity and her decision to wear a head scarf. Interspersed with interview footage are sequences depicting Sabha’s home and social lives. She reads to us the countless rejection letters from potential employers—all attempting to conceal their blatant racism and xenophobia.

The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity

In The New Voices of Islam, Mehran Kamrava compiles a selection of writings from Muslim reformists whose voices have been silenced and marginalized for much too long.

Nazrah: A Muslim Woman's Perspective

Muslim women have received a lot of media attention recently: driver's license bureaus insisting they remove their head covering, fellow travelers regarding them suspiciously and with pity, and an enterprising Australian woman recently came out with a “burqini” that allows Muslim women to swim without violating their modesty standards. Rarely, though, do Westerners get to hear from Muslim women themselves. Farah Nousheen is an activist based in Seattle, WA.

Arab-American Comedy Tour

Most of the time stand-up comedy is either hot or cold for me, but Arab-American Comedy Tour was lukewarm. Dean Obeidallah made being politically insightful hilarious, but the stereotyping and misconceptions began to be redundant. I do think some of the material was fresh. What I liked about Dean was that he is versatile.

Breaking the Silence: French Women’s Voices from the Ghetto

In her recently translated book Breaking the Silence, Fadela Amara attempts to rework and redefine feminism as it relates to her specific time and place. As a Muslim girl of Algerian immigrant parents growing up in the projects, Amara’s experience of feminism as the term is traditionally defined by western academics was non-existent. In fact, her book critiques the very term as it exists now, perceived by her to be owned by the white middle and upper-class women who coined it.