Hii Pistache! Thanks so much! That is a very cute video. Every time I've seen a Heidi in the media, she is blonde! So I appreciate a brunette Heidi
GuerillaRadio, I love to answer these types of questions! Not only does it help me clarify what Im trying to say, it also brings up issues I may not have considered yet. So if you, or any one else for that matter, have any other questions, I really hope you will bring them up!
I will definitely check out the Islamophobia forum, that is a great idea. I have been having lots of family around since its the holidays,and haven really had much time these days to sufficiently explore MM, so I very much appreciate the helpful suggestion
I define normal as the following: no matter our beliefs (whether or not I believe in the oneness of God, or believe in Christianity and the Trinity, or even believe in a multitude of Gods), I believe that, above all, we are all human beings and we all deserve respect.
I personally cannot comprehend how a whole people, or a whole religion can be demonized and how that can possibly be acceptable. It truly is propaganda, in the sense that those who want to make us look bad, as Muslims, cite horrible events, such as September 11th, and depict that as standard behavior of Muslims, and even depict it as encouraged behavior in Islam. That is factually incorrect, yet most people in America haven't met a Muslim, and because of that, they don't really realize that Muslims are nothing more or less than human beings.
To cite an example, I once showed a professor a picture of my family around a turkey at Thanksgiving. His response? Wow!! They look like Americans! You guys celebrate Thanksgiving?! He was truly shocked. That is the type of people we deal with... even if they think they are accepting and understanding of others, they still have a very biased view of what/who we are, and what activities we partake in. We, the Muslim population, need to change that. It should never be shocking that an American family is gathered around the turkey at Thanksgiving, simply because they are Muslim. Being Muslim and being American are not mutually exclusive. Being Muslim and being a good person is not mutually exclusive. So that is what I mean by normal. I want to stress that we are as much a part of the societal fabric as other religions, we are as much a part of it as other human beings. And that Is what i wish to stress. There is an underlying humanity that connects us all, whether we are Muslim, Christian, atheiest, Hindu...etc.
You are right, there are very powerful forces up against me, as a Muslim American filmmaker. As a filmmaker, I realize that there are a lot of things I can/should do to convey the message that I wish to convey, that Muslims are simply normal human beings. To be honest, I feel this is just the beginning. In order to begin a campaign to promote the image of Muslims, I think the first step is to help people realize that Muslims are normal (as defined above) human beings, and they have legitimate experiences and stories. And only then can we build upon the positive image of Muslims in the West.
You are absolutely correct when you say just making a film doesn't mean getting your message out there. I think there is a lot of research that must be done in order to figure out how best to convey this message to both the Muslims and the non-Muslims in a way that allows them to be on the same page. As such, I think its critical to not only read and understand academic research regarding public opinions about Muslims in the West, but it is also necessary to interview Muslims and non-Muslims to truly understand what is happening on the ground, or what is happening in the real world, not just the academic world. This is the reason why I tend to use real Muslim voices in my films about Muslim Americans. I want to give Muslims the ability to convey their own personal messages/stories to the world.
But I think you are right, even making a great film that hits home might not get my message out to everyone I am attempting to reach. I think there is only so much a filmmaker can do to convey their message, to be honest. For example, at this point in time, I was able to convey the message I wished to convey in my short film, Underneath it All. By sharing personal and emotional stories, I hope that people began to realize that these stories are very similar to their own. But perhaps it hasn't influenced all viewers the way I wished it would. But Inshallah with time, and more experience in film, I will be able to captivated my intended audience with my message through my film.
I like to think that by making such films, it can make a significant impact simply due to the fact that there are not a lot of these films out there yet. And I hope, at minimum, my films will at least make people reconsider their preconceived notions regarding Muslims as a homogenous and extremist group.
Its been quite a long day, and I realize that my message is long, and I had to remove my original post due to some weird error, and rewrite/repost it, so I hope that not only has my answer made sense, but I hope that I have sufficiently answered your questions! If you need clarification on anything, or have follow-up questions, please feel free to ask! I welcome all questions
Let me now ask you for your opinion regarding this matter? I would really love to hear your thoughts! How do you think a Muslim filmmaker should overcome such powerful societal forces? And do you think films that promote the Muslim image play a significant role in changing biased views of Muslims? Or do you think other methods should be utilized? Perhaps methods outside of film? I guess I want to hear what you think would be the most effective way to reach these people?
Perhaps I will start another thread to really discuss these ideas! I'm so interested in hearing everyone thoughts!