“Love has no boundaries and women have equal rights to men to choose who they want to marry.”
This is the core message of a series of short films being produced by Ibn Rushd Media Productions, an independent media company that promotes a progressive vision of Islam. The video series centers on the theologically-grounded argument that Muslim women have the same rights as Muslim men to marry outside the faith—a view currently not held by the majority of Muslim scholars.
The first of these short films is a two-part interview with Muslim scholar, Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, who is licensed to perform marriages in Virginia and has officiated several of these interfaith marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. The second film is a short promo, which gathers the opinions of different young professional Muslims and non-Muslims who live in the United States to discuss their experiences with love, dating, and marriage as a religious minority in the U.S. The third short film, which will be released later, is the first in a broader fictional series we are calling “Leila and Keith” (our play on the famous Arab love story “Leila and Qais,” which tells the story of Leila and her struggle to marry a non-Muslim man, Keith.
What We Need & How You Can Help
Ibn Rushd self-funded the production of the first three films. We are hoping to raise a total of $25,000.00 through this Indiegogo campaign to produce at least five more short films in both fictional and interview format to further discuss the issue from other angles. Any funds raised beyond the initial $25,000.00 will go towards producing a longer documentary about the topic.
We also greatly welcome IN-KIND DONATIONS. Let us know if you’d like to offer any creative services, legal advice, video production and editing,translation services, subtitling services, access to news footage, music, or anything else that you think can help. We are also looking for volunteer actors and actresses. Email Info@ibnrushdmedia.com with the subject line: “In Kind”, if you’d like to discuss these possibilities.
We will host a screening of the three short films and an open discussion event in Washington D.C. in the summer of 2016 to share with a wider audience the story behind establishing Ibn Rushd Media and other behind-the-scenes stories and clips. The exact date of the screening will be announced in late June, 2016. We also want to hear your feedback on the films, the issues, and any personal experiences with interfaith marriage you may want to share. In the meantime, we highly encourage you participate in our online discussions to hear your stories and feedback, using the hashtag #HerRight2Marry on our Facebook page, our Twitter account, and Youtube Channel.
The central theme of these films is to challenge both the rising Islamophobia in the United States and conservative ideas within the Muslim community. We are hoping with these films to raise awareness about issues of gender equality, the complexities of the Muslim-American experience, and the potential for greater dialogue and respect within and among the various faith communities.
While interfaith marriages between Muslim men and non-Muslims women are common, very few Muslim women exercise the same right. In fact, many people interviewed did not know or did not believe that Muslim women can marry outside the faith. The goal of the project is not to encourage Muslim women to marry outside of the faith, rather realize that they have the right to do so. Taking the U.S. as an example, Muslims represent roughly 1% of the whole population, which means according to the traditional interpretation, a Muslim woman cannot marry anyone out of the remaining 99% of Americans. Moreover, such restriction affects the integration of Muslims in their communities and legitimizes the anti-Islam rhetoric used by dangerous Islamophobes in the West.
Tell us your story or the story of a friend you may know who could/could not marry because of the false argument that Islam does not allow Muslim women to marry outside the faith. We are fully aware of the sensitivity of the topic, and if requested, your identity can remain anonymous.
Risks & Challenges
We, at Ibn Rushd Media, are fully aware of the immense risks and challenges that accompany such controversial and compounded project. Here are a few of these challenges:
1- Finding participants willing to share their personal story and face societal pressures as many participants do not want their stories to be told in public, fearing how their Muslim friends and families may judge them.
2- We are a startup company that is focusing on projects that are not necessarily profitable despite their significant impact, so funding will be a challenge. We managed to fund the first three films by ourselves, but the project is not close to being done and this is where you come in.
3- We are also facing the challenge of explaining to the majority of Muslims that, despite the common belief, Muslim women have the right to marry outside the faith, something that the majority of current Muslim clerics disagree with.
Mitigating the Risks:
1- We will protect the identity of any participant, unless they authorize us to use his or her name. If requested, we will also blur the faces of participants.
2- We are also reaching out to similar-minded organizations to coordinate efforts and resources to secure additional funding.
3- We are using the expertise of progressive Imams, who ground our work in sound theological and historical scholarship.
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that not everyone interested in our cause can contribute money. If you cannot contribute money, we humbly request your help share our online discussions using the following:
1. Follow our Twitter account and tweet regularly about our campaign #HerRight2Marry
2. Like our Facebook page, share, and interact with our posts
3. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel
4. Sign up to be on our mailing list and forward our emails to your friends and family