‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ movie review

There’s a double meaning to the title of “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” filmmaker Mira Nair’s great, gripping and complex drama based on the 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid about the roots of extremism.

On a superficial level, “fundamentalist” refers to religious identity, one unfortunately most often associated with Islamic terrorism these days. And the story — about an ambitious, Pakistani-born Wall Street financial analyst who becomes disenchanted with the United States after 9/11 — certainly suggests that most obvious reading. In that interpretation, the reluctant fundamentalist is an assimilated Muslim forced into anti-American radicalism by America itself.

But the hero Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed), whom we meet at the outset as an older and wiser professor of revolutionary studies at Lahore University, isn’t quite what he appears. The other meaning of “fundamentalist” refers to Changez’s prior life in the states, where, as a young man, he was paid big bucks to fix broken companies, coolly evaluating — and, if necessary, streamlining — a business’s “fundamentals.” That means he was often in the position of having to fire people, a job that might inspire reluctance in anyone with a heart. (The name Changez Khan is a variant of Genghis Khan.)

Rai Film about Islam

March 19, 2013

A Capuchin monk from Friulana, Marco D’Aviano, who energized Christians troops before the Battle of Vienna in which Ottoman army of 300,000 warriors was stopped in their besiegement of Vienna on September 11, 1683. The film explains that this was the first September 11; 300 years ago. Produced by RAI the film will premier on  April 11 and will be distributed by Microcinema. The distribution of the film has already been postponed once due to the film’s political incorrectness according to RAI leadership.

The film, which cost over € 5 million, was filmed with great battle scenes in Romania and Italy. The director’s aim was not necessarily to show that there is evidence to support a comparison between September 11, 1683 and that of 2001. The director stresses that “is not a film against Islam but on the total senselessness of the wars of religion. It’s a movie that focuses on a figure from the depths of history that of a great Christian priest: Marco D’Aviano. Marco D’Aviano was canonized a few years ago by Pope John Paul II, who aware of the priests importance in the history of Europe. Yet, inexplicably, no one knows who is Marco D’Aviano.” The film also focuses on Kara Mustafa, a great Muslim leader (played by Enrico Lo Verso). Both characters are convinced that their God will bring them a superhuman feat: Kara Mustafa wants to destroy Vienna and come to Rome to transform the St. Peter’s Basilica into a mosque. Marco D’Aviano wants to prevent this plan.

World without Islam

13 December 2012

 

Imran Firasat is a Pakistani citizen who rebelled against Islam when he and his Buddhist wife were rejected by their society due to their interreligious marriage

.After a series of police persecutions he and his wife were finally granted political asylum in Spain in 2006.

He then started a blog criticizing the Islamic religion, called “A World without Islam

(Mundo sin Islam). Similar to the movie, “The Innocence of Muslims,” he created a short  story”The Innocent Prophet: The Life of Mohammed from a Different Point of View,” posted  on YouTube (removed recently).

In April of this year he officially campaigned for banning the Qu’ran from Spain and there were indications that he planned to burn the Sacred book in one of the main squares of Madrid

. He was influenced by the North-American Pastor Terry Jones

, his main partner in the making of his movie. The police called him for interrogation and asked him to leave the country

.

As a consequence of this movie, he was condemned to death penalty in Pakistan and Indonesia. In Belgium as well, screenings of the video raised fear of terrorist attacks in the country. Due to fear of terrorist acts, the Madrid Court has requested an alteration the video. His  status of political refugee is also in jeopardy. On the 13th of December of 2012 the Court ordered the suspension of the video.

 

1 http://www.intereconomia.com/noticias-gaceta/internacional/una-vida-condenada-por-criticar-islam-20111105

2 http://mundosinislam.com/suspendido-la-mision-el-profeta-inocente/

3 http://www.intereconomia.com/noticias-gaceta/sociedad/solicitan-prohibicion-coran-espana-20120224

4 http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/414634/20121213/innocent-prophet-muhammad-anti-islam-muslims-firasat.htm

5 http://www.alertadigital.com/2012/03/06/la-policia-amenaza-con-enjuiciar-al-ex-musulman-que-quiere-quemar-el-coran-en-espana

 

Glasgow Muslim students fight against prejudice

3 December 2012

Glasgow City Council has been working hard to promote racial and religious equality in Glasgow, in order to foster better relations between religious groups residing in the city. In the wake of the anti-Islamic movie, Innocence of Muslim, the City Council has discussed plans to support Glasgow’s 30,000-strong Muslim community and protect faith groups from similar behavior.

Madihah Ansari, a student at Glasgow Caledonian University, is joining the efforts to promote religious understanding in Pollokshields. She has introduced ‘New to Islam’ classes for the city’s recent Muslim converts, Madihah is taking the chance to share the message of her religion with those who have only a basic understanding of Islam.

The classes are held at Madrasa Taleemul Islam on Nithsdale Road, on weekly basis and give all attendees an insight into the world’s fastest-growing religion.

From Man Who Insulted Muhammad, No Regret

LOS ANGELES — Fuming for two months in a jail cell here, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has had plenty of time to reconsider the wisdom of making “Innocence of Muslims,” his crude YouTube movie trailer depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a bloodthirsty, philandering thug.

Does Mr. Nakoula now regret the footage? After all, it fueled deadly protests across the Islamic world and led the unlikely filmmaker to his own arrest for violating his supervised release on a fraud conviction.

Not at all. In his first public comments since his incarceration soon after the video gained international attention in September, Mr. Nakoula told The New York Times that he would go to great lengths to convey what he called “the actual truth” about Muhammad. “I thought, before I wrote this script,” he said, “that I should burn myself in a public square to let the American people and the people of the world know this message that I believe in.”

In explaining his reasons for the film, Mr. Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt, cited the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Tex., as a prime example of the violence committed “under the sign of Allah.” His anger seemed so intense over the years that even from a federal prison in 2010, he followed the protests against the building of an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero in New York as he continued to work on his movie script.

Muslim protests against the anti-Islamic movie continue

28 October 2012

Muslims gathered at Stockton’s Muslim Welfare Trust to register their protest against the movie Innocence of Muslims. According to the organizers the demonstration was organized in order to give Teesside’s Muslim community the chance to voice their concerns over the movie.

Mahroof Hussein, Treasurer of the Muslim Welfare Trust, said: “We wanted to make sure this was a peaceful demonstration. We decided not to take to the streets because we wanted to avoid any conflict and wanted to get our point across through a peaceful gathering and the lobbying of our MPs”

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham and Hartlepool counterpart Iain Wright along with Middlesbrough Councillor, Barry Coppinger, participated in the event. They agreed to deliver a petition on behalf of the Muslim community to the Houses of Parliament regarding their concerns.

Further, a Muslim group called Jammat-e ahle Sunnat UK issued a warning that the movie is “encouraging and promoting racial and religious hate crime”.

Muslim Action Forum holds a major demonstration outside Google headquarters in London over the anti-Islamic movie

14 October 2012

 

Muslim Action Forum, which was formed by Muslim groups in the UK in response to the anti-Islamic movie held a fresh demonstration outside the Google headquarters in London. Around 10000 Muslims attended the demonstration to urge Google to ban the anti-Islamic movie, Innocence of Muslims.

 

Buckingham Palace Road in Victoria was closed for three hours on Sunday afternoon by police during the peaceful protest. As many as 800 imams in mosques across Britain helped to organise the protest. The protesters outside Google headquarters carried placards reading “Campaign for Global Civility” and “Don’t they teach manners in Google”.

 

One of the speakers, Sheikh Faiz Al-Aqtab Siddiqui, said: “Terrorism is not just people who kill human bodies, but who kill human feelings as well. The makers of this film have terrorised 1.6 billion people. Organisations like Google are key players and have to take responsibility for civility. You can’t just say it doesn’t matter that it’s freedom of speech. It’s anarchy.”

 

Google said the video is “clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube”, although it has been removed Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and India.

 

Meanwhile, according to the Telegraph the makers of the movie, along with the Pakistani Minister who has offered a bounty for the killing of the makers of the movie have now been banned from entering the UK.

Lupe Fiasco on His New Album, Romney vs. Obama, ‘Muslim Rage’ & More

Lupe Fiasco has no filter. It’s pretty damn refreshing in an industry bursting at the seams with image-conscious rappers and manufactured pop divas. A practicing Muslim, he’s called President Obama “a terrorist,” does not vote in U.S. elections, was a regular fixture at Occupy Wall Street, and had an infamous on-air tussle with the irascible Bill O’Reilly.

The artist formerly known as Wasalu Muhammad Jaco sat down with The Daily Beast for an in-depth interview to promote his new album, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. Released on Sept. 25, it’s his fourth studio LP and an anticipated follow-up to last year’s Lasers, which made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Pt. II, meanwhile, will see the light of day in early 2013.

Food & Liquor II is equal parts searing indictment of American politics, urban history lesson, and demystification of hip-hop culture. On the standout track “Lamborghini Angels,” the rapper riffs on everything from MK-Ultra programming and pedophilia in the Catholic Church to human-rights abuses during the war in Afghanistan.

“This is Lupe’s history,” he says with a grin. “It came from America. Howard Zinn is definitely the inspiration for it. Zinn was the person who gave you an alternative view of American history, and people beat the shit out of him for it. It took decades for people to grasp it.”

Born a Sunni Muslim, Lupe says he fully embraced Islam when his cousin, who had just converted, moved in with the family when he was 13.

“I’ve always felt I’m going to be Muslim till the day I die because I fully understand it and have never wanted to be anything else,” he says.

The subject eventually turns to Innocence of Muslims, the incendiary, anti-Islam amateur film that’s helped fuel rioting in the Middle East. Says Lupe: “They should fight for the dude’s right to make that movie. Unfortunately, we also live in a world with everyone else. America is not its own planet. You can say whatever you want, but have some class.” He adds, “It’s a provocation, but I think that at the same time, the Muslim world is taking it a little too seriously. If you want to battle and protest against it, this is the opportunity to talk about all the great things the Prophet Muhammad has done and the ways he’s inspired people.”

Muslim reactions continue against the anti-Islamic movie

6 October 2012

 

Muslim groups in the UK continue to protest against the provocative movie. In Bolton, hundreds of Muslims marched on Friday to protest the movie. The march was jointly co-ordinated by the Bolton Muslim Action Committee (BMAC) and the Naqshbandia Aslamiya Foundation.

 

Imam Muhammad Arshad al-Misbahi, of Manchester Central Mosque, described the film as “against Islam, against the messenger of Islam, and against the teachings of Islam” and he said “I have four children. My parents are both alive. But I am here to say I love my prophet more than I love my children. I love my prophet more than I love my own self.”

 

Earlier, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the leader of a Sufi group called Minhaj-ul-Quran, strongly condemned the movie in the statement of the organization. The statement said “The making of blasphemous films and subsequent publication of obnoxious cartoons is not only a step aimed at hurting the emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims in the world but also a heinous conspiracy to damage global peace and harmony.”

 

The group also reportedly planned to hold a demo in London against the movie.

Man Tied to Anti-Islam Video Held on Probation Charge

LOS ANGELES — Muslims across the Middle East outraged by an anti-Islam film made in America wanted swift punishment for the man behind the movie, and now Mark Basseley Youssef is behind bars. But he’s jailed for lying about his identity, not because of the video’s content.

Court documents show Youssef, 55, legally changed his name from Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in 2002, but never told federal authorities, who now are using that as part of the probation violation case against him.

Youssef was ordered jailed without bail Thursday until a hearing is held to determine if he violated terms of his supervised release on a 2010 bank fraud conviction. Prosecutors allege he used multiple aliases and lied to his probation officers about his real name.

Youssef, an Egyptian-born Christian who’s now a U.S. citizen, sought to obtain a passport in his new name but still had a California driver’s license as Nakoula, assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said Friday. Youssef used a third name, Sam Bacile, in association with the 14-minute trailer for the movie “Innocence of Muslims” that was posted on YouTube. It portrays Muhammad as a religious fraud, womanizer and pedophile.

The case isn’t about Youssef’s First Amendment right to make a controversial film. Rather, Dugdale said, it’s about his failure to live up to his obligation to be truthful with federal authorities.

“The fact that he wasn’t using his true name with probation, that’s where the problem is,” said Dugdale, who noted federal authorities now will refer to Nakoula as Youssef.

Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles’ School of Law, said U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal’s decision to order Youssef held without bail is supported by the evidence.