March 11th – World Day of Muslim Culture, Peace, Dialogue and Film

World Day of Muslim Culture, Peace, Dialogue and Film is an annual observance held on March 11 over the world, which has taken place for the past 11 years. This day was created in 2010 by Javed Mohammed, a writer and producer from California. The main aim of the celebration is to share and discuss Muslim culture to create a link and understanding across faiths and to promote a better knowledge of Muslim culture. Muslim Culture - food and religion image montage

Muslims spread their culture, customs and traditions all over the world from Eastern Asian to the Middle East and to the United States. They have common practices and traditions even if they live in different countries with different languages. Different cultural manifestations of Islam are presented to the world to show what it means to be a Muslim.

Art – and more specifically visual and performing arts like music, drama, dance and film – can serve as important communication languages across space and time. People from different cultures and different times communicate via images and sounds. In Islamic societies, artists present their beliefs and faith by creating art works. Among all types of arts in Islamic societies, filmmaking has developed a lot. The film industry in the Islamic world provides a window into Islamic culture and brings broad insights to many facets of the Islamic religion.

In this post, we’re going to show you some Muslim traditions and cultures through film. In the first part you’ll find the Muslim movies that were nominated for or won the Academy Award. Enjoy exploring these fabulously talented Muslim filmmakers and the dialogue that they present in order to better understand Muslims’ lives.

  • Moonlight – A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young Black man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to manhood is guided by the kindness, support and love of the community that helps raise him.
  • A Separation – “A Separation” is a film in which every important character tries to live a good life within the boundaries of the same religion. That this leads them into disharmony and brings them up before a judge is because no list of rules can account for human feelings.
  • For Sama – An intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. The story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while conflict rises around her.
  • Last Men in Aleppo – Follows members of the volunteer group White Helmets, who offer aid to the wounded during the Syrian civil war.

Also, in Avalon, there are some wonderful documentaries related to Muslims and their traditions that can give you a better sense of Muslims.

  • Food in the Muslim World – Asia is home to the world’s four major religions, Islam being one of them. United in their worship of Allah, in this program we learn of another way there are united: food, which embodies Islam. From the desserts of Iran to the bhiriyani of India and Indonesia, we see a variety of Muslim cuisine throughout Asia.
  • Secret Life of Muslims: Hijab – Muslim-American women answer basic questions about the head covering (hijab).
  • Sufi Soul – For hundreds of millions of Sufi followers worldwide, music is at the heart of their tradition and a way of getting closer to God. Sufism has produced some of the world’s most spectacular music celebrated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

by Neda Zeraatkar, Middle East and Islamic studies librarian

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