Bridging Cultures

Clay Bird Movie Poster. Muslim Girl With Boy in BackgroundLast night I watched a movie that was made in 2002 but became available on DVD in 2005. It’s an absolutely beautiful movie about Muslim culture/identity and practice in the late 60s in Western (?) Pakistan before the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 in which Bangladesh separated Pakistan.

Some Islamic history is presented through the characters — the practice of love for all and equality and honor between men and women from the Sufi tradition, to the very structured and disciplined life of the more conservative practice of Islam that gained momentum from the Mendrasas — schools for poor and orphaned children. Please know my comments are brief reflections on the movie and not a complete picture at all on Islamic beliefs or practices.

What I loved very much about the movie were the singers who traveled from town to village bringing traditional stories that often spoke of tolerance and love within a pluralistic society. The songs were full of metaphor and very poetic.

There is much to be learned and strong resources are being developed at Universities with support from the NEH and others. Here are a few sites for educators:

http://teachmiddleeast.lib.uchicago.edu/classroom-connections/question-of-identity-before-islam-overview.html

http://www.muslimmodernities.org/items/browse?tags=Educational+Resources

http://www.muslimmodernities.org/more

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