Earlier this month, in a post about the “East Meets West Series” on To The Best of Our Knowledge, you may have heard an interview with rapper Lupe Fiasco in the segment “Encountering Islam.” The interview begins by introducing his album title “Food and Liquor” and pointing out that it relates to the concept of halal, or what is permissible in Islam. He makes it clear, however, that his intention is not to be “the poster boy” of Islam, but to express through music how being Muslim added depth and meaning to his life. For him, the music was first influenced by his own memories of growing up in a Muslim family. Later, as an adult, the music was further influenced by hip-hop culture.
In her memoir, The Bread of Angels, Stephanie Saldana wrote about an Italian Jesuit who restored a tenth century monastery near Damascus, and then dedicated it to Muslim/Christian dialogue. Father Paulo was recently forced into exile by the Assad regime, but he’s back. Stephanie joins us with an update.
In 2010, journalist-actress-writer-director Feo Aladag released When We Leave (Die Fremde in German), an award-winning film that explores the hardships that characterize one young Turkish-German woman’s transition from a suffocating marriage in Istanbul back to a new life in her native Berlin. Despite her intentions of running from her abusive relationship, she endures further physical abuse from her husband, and is unsupported by her family in her decision to run away with her son. When We Leave blends a number of issues into one story–from Germany’s struggles with multiculturalism to the concept of honor in many Turkish families.
Aladag, of Austrian origin and married to a Turkish-German TV producer, spent a considerable amount of time understanding domestic abuse by living in women’s shelters as part of a human rights group’s domestic violence awareness campaign. When We Leave received press coverage from around the world (some thought it was robbed of an Oscar by The Academy) and gained further attention from the lead actress’ controversial past as an adult film star. Debates over the film’s merit will continue, but there is an issue of much greater importance that has received little attention: Does the film really help prevent honor killings, domestic violence, and other abuse among segments of Germany’s Turkish populations? Continue reading