Students at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts prepare a 30-minute documentary to screen at the end of their semester. On May 6th IANGEL attended the screening at the Norris Theater which featured “The Human Capital,” “al-imam,” and “There goes the neighborhood.”
Muslims for Progressive Values’ (MPV) founder Ani Zonneveld was the focus of the second film, “al-imam.” Official interpretations of the Qur’anic texts are currently done by male imams, but Ani Zonneveld believes it to be her God given authority to interpret those texts as a woman. Unabashedly, this leader has done just that. The film follows Ani as she exposes her views to the public and endures backlash from Imams worldwide who ask her to realize that her “awrah”, or voice, is not meant to be heard by men. Even on a personal level, the film shows how this trailblazer’s family ostracizes her for preaching what they view to be an “obscene, Western Islam”.
Through her continued work with Muslims for Progressive Values, Ani continues to push for the Islam she loves and grew up with, an Islam that includes everyone.