From Citizenship to Culture: Seeing Muslims through a Different Lens

From Citizenship to Culture: Seeing Muslims through a Different Lens With Raheel Raza

 Tuesdays, January 29 & February 5, 12 & 19, 2013

7:00-9:00 pm at Emmanuel College, Toronto

This four-part series uses film to take audiences on a journey from the early days of Islam, Muslim philosophers in history, the Sufi experience and onto current times where we have seen the sharia debate in Canada, radical Islam, and gender issues. Each session will present a film with an introduction, followed by Question and Answer.

Author of Their Jihad … not my Jihad, Raheel Raza is a public speaker, consultant for interfaith and intercultural diversity, documentary film maker and freelance journalist. Travelling extensively throughout the Middle East, Europe, Far East and North America, Raza brings a fresh new global perspective to her mandate “there is unity in diversity”.

Films included in the Series

The Ornaments of Lhasa: (25 mins) Footage and photographs of Muslims in Lhasa, together with an interview with a Tibetan Muslim, who describes the history and life of Islam in Tibet, the two Muslim communities living there today and the relationship between the Buddhists and the Muslims. Islam has been present for nearly 1,000 years, in what many might see as a monolithic Buddhist culture.

Sufi SoulThe Mystical Music of Islam (55 mins) With a dogmatic and fundamentalist view of Muslims increasingly predominant in the Western media, there has never been a more important time to show an alternative view of Islam. Sufism is the mystical dimension of Islam that preaches peace, tolerance and pluralism, while encouraging music as a way of deepening one’s relationship with God. This documentary explores Sufism and its music in different parts of the Islamic world, including Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco. Sufi Soul reveals the views and beliefs of devotees while examining the growing threat from fundamentalist Islam and showcasing fantastic performances from some of the world’s greatest Sufi musicians.

Secrets of the Koran: (part 1 45 mins) Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Koran probes the heart of the work that many outside Islam find mysterious. This feature-length program examines the history of the verses and their implications for modern times, as well as the striking similarities and differences between the Koran and Bible. Made by The History Channel

Quest for Honor: 63 mins. A call to the Women’s Media Center in Slemani, reveals that a woman’s body has been found in a field oustside Rania, a mountain town near the Turkish border. Runak Faraj, editor of Rewan (Dawn), the center’s newspaper, and her colleague Kalthum Murad join local Rania Police Chief Abdullah at the crime scene. Chief Abdullah’s cell phone shows a devastating image of a young woman clad in blue jeans, grabbing her hair in the agony of death. The woman is Nesrin, a young widow. Her mother is dead, and her father lives abroad. Her in-laws took Nesrin’s children when her husband died, and she lived from house to house after that. Jasmin (pseudonym), a young mother protected at the Asuda Safe House in Sleymaniyah, is shot three times as she prepares for evening prayer. ”If a woman can be shot at a Safe House, what good are these so-called Safe Houses?” asks Kalthum. Questions such as those posed by Kalthum must be addressed if Kurdish women are to stop honor killing and other toxic traditions. Freelance video journalist Hemin Kaikay and Lawen Asad, a reporter at SOMA, the English language newspaper, investigate the shooting at Asuda. They interview police chiefs, Captain Nariman, head of the KRG’s newly formed Agency to Prevent Violence Against Women, and even Jasmin’s jailed brother, who is implicated in the shooting. Through the investigations, interviews and visits to Rewan’s print house and offices, we learn how the Women’s Media Center and their investigative reporters vigorously pursue these cases in an effort to get the stories out, educate the public, and change tradition. Kurdish mainstream media follows their lead. Like the problem of honor killing itself, these cases are generally not adequately resolved. The fight for justice and change led by the women and the KRG continues. Kalthum, Runak, and Runak Khan persevere in their work in Kurdistan. They encourage men and women of all backgrounds to join them.


The workshop fee is $50.00 + HST for the series. $15 a night at the door Deadline for Registration is January 22, 2013. 15% discount for two or more from a congregation and students half price. For further information contact Betsy Anderson 416-813-4096 or

Seeing Muslims Registration Form