Friday, August 7, 2009

Back Packer Weekly: New Muslim Cool

Salutations and Salaam.

Whats gwanin BPW faithfuls? I know, I know, it's been a long time since I've made an installment on this thing, shame on me, right? To be quite honest, brothers have been bare busy, lots of things on the agenda, but this isn't about me. This BPW is a special BPW, unlike any I've ever wrote before. This is a movie review, of sorts.

Look at the definition of "Cool". Cool is more than a vague temperature placement. Cool is an adjective; following suit of a trend, a state of acceptable being with report and praise, relative to ones point of view. Brother Lupe Fiasco dropped an album called "The Cool" which utterly and irrevocably embodied the definition. There are a lot of new trends, a lot of new things we as a people as a culture find attractive and refreshing. Be it detrimental or not, what ever the vast array of subjects in question, from the music we listen to, to the dress we fashion for ourselves, to steroids, selling crack, it's all "cool" at one point. So for a religion to be new, cool, exciting, and what ever else, seems kind of like a contradiction, right? Wrong. The New Muslim Cool is sweeping the world over, as Islam is the fastest growing religion in the USA and now the number one practiced religion in the world, with numbers well exceeding 1billion. Islam is a religion that dates back centuries, so why is the prefix "new", attached? Well the influx has become increasingly noticeable since the events of September 11th. Islam before may have been a 2o minute discussion in your social studies class. You may have had one or two exchange students who were Muslim, but you were never really that interested in them, so you didn't ask many questions. Now look at it! All the sudden Islam is every where you look. In the classroom, in sports, in cartoons, and even in movies.

PBS and POV films banded together to create a very fresh and insightful look into a young man who is an MC, a father, an activist, and above all a Muslim, Mr. Hamza Perez. A member of the well known Hip Hop group M-Team, Hamza is a Nuyorican transplant living in Pittsburgh. Now I don't wanna give away the film because it's an amazing body of work, however, I will give a short synopsis. The cameras follow brother Hamza through out his day to day life. The jihad (struggle) of self, the jihad of religion and the trials and tribulations all mighty God places in front of us to keep our faith strong and our hearts pure. You will see Hamza performing his daily fatherly duties, in the studio with his brother, and partner in rhyme Suliman, working as a religious leader in prison and even getting married. Depending on how familiar you are with the Pittsburgh Hip Hop scene and how well you network, you may see some people you know all through out the film.

I met Hamza and his brother once, my first E'id Al-Fitr in the Pittsburgh Muslim community in 2006, they forever made an impression on my heart and brain. They were two of the most warm, kind and inviting brothers one would hope to meet. So upon hearing the news of this documentary, I was overjoyed that an occurrence of this magnitude was taking place so close to where I am and involving people with in my cipher.

This is more than just an opportunity for a brother to get press, or to get his 15 minutes of fame. This is something far greater. With the misrepresentation of Islam ever prevalent in the biased Zionist media, in schools, in the books you read, a counter balance was past due. All too often the image of the "towlhead" warrior and or suicide bomber yelling "Allah'u akbar" is seen in movies, magazines and nightly news stillshots. All too often is the image of the long robe wearing, oil hording greedy Arabian Muslim presented to you with no alternative to digest. "New Muslim Cool" opens up the viewers eyes to a tangible facet of society that is no different than the every day American encounters. In fact the places of Hamza and the deacon at your church could be easily changed around and the exact paths would still be trodden, more less.

This documentary is paramount in bridging the gap between a world with in a world that has been victim of slander, demonetization while literally sitting across the street from your residence. As Islam continues to grow and more and more people begin to recognize and accept the presence of it as a mainstay in American/Global culture. It behooves one to educate themselves on the unknown. What better way then watch a former drug dealing, Puerto Rican Muslim from New York who was raised Catholic go through his day to day ordeals? "New Muslim Cool" is an accurate portrayal of true Islam, the peace and the submission of one's will to the one God. This film shows exactly how real Muslims deal with real struggles in real life. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.

I have to give an over sized phat shout to sister Rashida James-Saadiya who blessed me with the link through the will of Allah (SWT) and had a hand in getting this wonderful documentary viewed in Pittsburgh. May Allah (SWT) continue to bless and reward you, those responsible for the creation of this project, and its focus points.

I urge you all to watch the documentary here : send this to as many people as you can, edyourselves and buy the DVD!

Asalaamu alaykum

The Ayatollah has spoken