These are a small sample of short films available at the WVU Libraries website in the Films on Demand database about Islam. A sample of further titles include:
To find these and more titles of interest do a keyword search in the Films on Demand database.
In this program, Bill Moyers and Georgetown University’s John Esposito—author of Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam and editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World—focus on Islam in Asia, where the vast majority of all Muslims live. The conflict within Islamic countries among religious fundamentalists, radical extremists, and the moderate mainstream is considered, along with American geopolitical concerns in the war on global terrorism. Human rights abuses in Indonesia and East Timor, the operation of al Qaeda, and a distinction between holy war and jihad are examined as well. "Can we fight terrorism without it becoming a worldwide clash of cultures?" asks Moyers. (23 minutes)
TEDTalks: Mustafa Akyol—Faith Versus Tradition in Islam (17:00) Does the world’s general idea of the Islamic faith focus too much on local cultural traditions and not enough on core beliefs? In this TEDTalk , journalist Mustafa Akyol discusses ways in which some practices, such as wearing a headscarf, have become linked in the popular mind to Islam’s actual creed. Pointing out divergences between actual Koranic injunctions and how the religion is expressed from region to region, he calls for a reconciliation of spiritual with secular life. Akyol is the deputy editor of the Turkish Daily News and author of Islam Without Extremes.
Afghanistan: Girl Power! (27:00) “I think when you are born a woman in Afghanistan,” says Kabul native Noorjahan Akbar, “you are taught every day to hate yourself.” But, as this film illustrates, Akbar is in no danger of falling into that self-hatred trap. The youthful activist counsels victims of misogynist brutality and has helped establish Young Women for Change, an organization dedicated to improving the lives and human rights of Afghan women. The documentary also features a profile of Trudi-Ann Tierney, an Australian producer who creates shows for Kabul’s Tolo TV network. Tierney’s difficulties in promoting a progressive image of women, and even in ensuring the safety of female performers, echo the ongoing hurdles Afghanistan faces as a torn and violent nation. (27 minutes)
Women of the Holy Kingdom: Struggling for Equality in Saudi Arabia (50:00) There is a palpable sense of change in Saudi Arabia today—or at least it sounds good to say that. Women may be gaining ground in some areas, but the oil-rich nation remains one of the most conservative societies in the Islamic world, with plenty of obstacles still littering the road to equality. Directed and narrated by Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, this program explores the tensions and complexities that cloud the professional prospects, political rights, and personal dignity of women in the country. Conversations with women in a variety of roles—a nurse, a factory worker, a history professor, and several others—help shed light on the debate happening within Saudi society over what should and shouldn’t change. Obaid’s frustration with the constraints placed on her and her crew, and the fact that many of her interview subjects still feel the need to cover their entire faces, serve as reminders that talking about change doesn’t always lead to action. And sometimes even the talking is difficult. (Portions with English subtitles, 50 minutes)
The Boxing Girls of Kabul (52:00) This documentary film depicts a group of young Afghan women striving to become world-class boxers and training without the most basic facilities in the national stadium where the Taliban has recently executed women. Though they are loyal to their country, they dare to defy its traditions. Inspired by their tenacious coach, these courageous boxers openly dream of their future, and even a shot at the Olympics. Committed to a challenging regime and enduring family and societal pressures to abandon their training, the women are determined to fight their way onto an international stage. This film shadows them closely over the course of a year so viewers have the chance to know them both as individuals and as a team of competitors punching well above their weight. The Boxing Girls of Kabul reveals a compelling journey of both personal and political transformation and illustrates the power of fighting for what you believe in. (52 minutes)