Idol Chatter

TheVisitorPicforIC.jpgLaila Lalami, a novelist and literary blogger, has a review of the new indie film “The Visitor” in The Nation that serves as a mini-compendium of Muslim film, and how Hollywood has represented Islam since 9/11.

After furnishing us with a list of films that could comprise a Hollywood Does Islam film fest, Lalami voices with the usual complaint that every Arab or Muslim on celluloid, even 10-year-old girls, is a terrorist. Her contribution to the field of big-screen Islamic studies is the prayer rug scene: “Prayer scenes have been used … in one of two ways: as a prelude to a terrorist blowing something up,” Lalami writes, “thus reinforcing the connection between Islam and violence; or as a prop for an Arab character identified as one of the ‘good guys,’ thus serving as a disclaimer that the filmmakers are not racist (See, we have a good Muslim! He works for the CIA!).”
Lalami praises “The Visitor” for its complete and utter absence of a prayer scene, and how its Muslims apply their faith differently in simillar situations: One female character is comfortable sharing an apartment for a night with a single male, another is not. Imagine if every resident of the state of Utah was portrayed as a separatist polygamist, and you get an idea of what a breath of fresh air “The Visitor” is.
Click here to read Beliefnet’s review of “The Visitor.” Click here to watch the trailer.

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