“American Ramadan” is a bold and exciting new look at the American Muslim experience, produced and masterfully captured by first time director Naeem Randhawa. “American Ramadan” explores and reveals the holiest of rituals, shared by the Abrahamic traditions, but practiced by more – the act of Fasting for Faith. As diverse as the fabric of America, from the divorced Dad, the student coping with school, work and family life, the convert to Islam and his Indonesian wife, an
interracial couple, and the wife of an incarcerated businessman – the reality of life is vividly and emotionally witnessed on film.
Filmed on location in Dallas and Los Angeles, the feature length documentary follows the lives of five American Muslim families during the Month of Ramadan in 2005. Contrast to the media stereotypes of Muslims as sheltered and outcasts – the film illustrates the everyday struggles, fears, hopes and challenges that everyone, Muslim or not, faces everyday. From the everyday busy lives of the families, the film follows the individuals as they strive to maintain their rhythm, and find time for worship and faith through the act of Fasting and prayer.
The intimate and personal stories of the five families are complemented with scholars from the three Abrahamic faiths. Rabbi Robert Haas from Temple Shalom, Dr. Robert Hunt, a Christian doctor and director of Global Theological Education at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, Dr. Jamal Badawi who is the founder of the Islamic Information Foundation and a professor emeritus at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Dr. Muazzamul Sidiqque, ex-president of the largest Islamic organization in North America – Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Dr. Mahmoud Khan, an internal medicine physician who has studied the medical process and benefits of fasting. All of these scholars bring to light the common thread of Fasting and spiritual yearning between Jews, Muslims, Christians, and other Faiths.
An introspective view of how Muslims in American cope with their religious and cultural traditions, while balancing the western way of life, “American Ramadan” is required viewing for anyone that is an observer of humanity. This documentary does more than build bridges; it exemplifies the plight of everyone who is seeking faith and a higher spiritual understanding.
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