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steelmagnolia

Sally Field Movie "not Without My Daughter"

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SalamAlykum, Dear Sisters (and brothers if you know the answer, too)

I hope all of you are well and in a high state of Imam on this beautiful day.

I am a law student in the United States, and asked a lady at the bank to notarize the Bar Exam application for me. She asked me about the Sally Field movie "Not without My Daughter." I told her that while those kinds of things happen, I think they are more isolated. She was afraid for me when I said that my husband is from Egypt. I was as polite as possible, and told her each country does things differently. While I have never been to Iran, I have many close friends who are from there, and through them I get information that life is not the way that movie portrays. My best friend who introduced me to Islam is from Iran, and my sister also married a man from Iran, who she eventually divorced. I get no sense of things being the way the movie portrays.

Can someone, Insh'Allah give me some insight as to whether this movie is accurate, or is it as my gut feeling tells me: typical Hollywood racist garbage?

Salaam,

Diane Oraif

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SalamAlykum, Dear Sisters (and brothers if you know the answer, too)

I hope all of you are well and in a high state of Imam on this beautiful day.

I am a law student in the United States, and asked a lady at the bank to notarize the Bar Exam application for me. She asked me about the Sally Field movie "Not without My Daughter." I told her that while those kinds of things happen, I think they are more isolated. She was afraid for me when I said that my husband is from Egypt. I was as polite as possible, and told her each country does things differently. While I have never been to Iran, I have many close friends who are from there, and through them I get information that life is not the way that movie portrays. My best friend who introduced me to Islam is from Iran, and my sister also married a man from Iran, who she eventually divorced. I get no sense of things being the way the movie portrays.

Can someone, Insh'Allah give me some insight as to whether this movie is accurate, or is it as my gut feeling tells me: typical Hollywood racist garbage?

Salaam,

Diane Oraif

(salam),

Your gut reaction is right about Not Without My Daughter - and , in my opinion, 90% of films relating to the Middle-East and Islam. Films regarding these two topics seek to give the viewer what they already perceive to be reality. I'm probably the only Muslim to have taken Film Study A-Level, and the process of editing and evaluation that films go under by both government and those with money is quite disturbing considering that the US considers it's films to reveal the subjects that they deal with uncensored. I wonder if you remember this song from Alladin:

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place

Where the caravan camels roam

Where they cut off your ear

If they don't like your face

It's barbaric, but hey, it's home

When the wind's from the east

And the sun's from the west

And the sand in the glass is right

Come on down

Stop on by

Hop a carpet and fly

To another Arabian night

Arabian nights

Like Arabian days

More often than not

Are hotter than hot

In a lot of good ways

Arabian nights

'Neath Arabian moons

A fool off his guard

Could fall and fall hard

Out there on the dunes

Like I said, 90% of films about the Middle-East and Islam are extremely inaccurate and merely perpetuate existing stereotypes and portray minority incidents as if they were the mainstream. Midnight Express, Not Without My Daughter, Perseopolis - even Aladdin, are all examples of Orientalist text. This is not to say that issues such as forced marriage, injustice or what-not do not occur in the Muslim world - but that the circumstances in which they are presented in Film seek to perpetuate a certain status-quo and fulfill a certain expectation that Western audiences have of the culture.

Wasalam.

Edited by Dr. Strangelove

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I saw it years ago, and it was very evident to recognize the propaganda behind the film (remember the closing scene when she reaches the embassy, having the stars and stripes flowing in the air?) Anyhow, you might not know this but the movie was actually filmed in the US and, get this, Israel, so the way it was used shouldn't be all that surprising. Just look at the names in the cast list:

Sally Field ... Betty Mahmoody

Alfred Molina ... Moody

Sheila Rosenthal ... Mahtob

Roshan Seth ... Houssein

Sarah Badel ... Nicole

Mony Rey ... Ameh Bozorg

Georges Corraface ... Mohsen

Mary Nell Santacroce ... Grandma

Ed Grady ... Grandpa

Marc Gowan ... Doctor

Bruce Evers ... Doctor

Jonathan Cherchi ... Mammal

Soudabeh Farrokhnia ... Nasserine

Michael Morim ... Zia

Gili Ben-Ozilio ... Fereshte

Racheli Chaimian ... Zoreh

Yossi Tabib ... Reza

Amir Shmuel ... Baba Hajji

Ya'ackov Banai ... Aga Hakim (as Yakov Banai)

Dafna Armoni ... Koran Teacher

Judith Robinson ... Ellen

Avraham Morr ... Hormoz

Sasson Gabai ... Hamid

Ahuva Keren ... Miss Nassimi

Farzaneh Taidi ... Khanun Shaheen

Yerusha Tirosh ... Mahtob's Teacher

Joseph Shiloach ... Mohsen's Companion

Shaul Mizrahi ... Iranian Soldier

Apparently there's been a counter-documentary made called "Without My Daughter" that tells the father's side of the story:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Without_My_Daughter

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Salam/Peace

I finally got a chance to watch "Not Without My Daughter" a few years ago. Something about the movie tickled my funny bone, and I laughed often, except during the scenes when the man was portrayed as being violent towards his wife. It is not that I saw the movie as a comedy, but that I felt that the movie was exaggerating the typical media portrayals of Muslims and doing a bad job of it.

I have not met an Iranian Muslim yet whom I know to be abusive towards his wife. I am certain that there are Iranian men who abuse their wives, but my experience is that it does not occur with the same frequency as with men from other ethnic backgrounds. I do not know why this is. Perhaps my own experience is limited. having said that, I do see marital abuse as a human condition, not a racial or religious one.

And of course, these days we have more secularists, male and female, than we did when the Islamic Revolution was new. Obviously, secularists are not exempt from being abusers, but they would certainly not hold their wives to any religious standards. (Just to note that I, personally, do not agree with the political motives or the worldview of the secularists.)

When a non-Muslim woman gets married to a Muslim man, she needs to keep in mind that the man does belong to a religion that has higher expectations of women than do other religions. We expect our women to dress more modestly, not to touch men, and not to engage in overly long and meaningless conversations with them. We expect both men and women to devote time every day to obligatory acts of worship - mostly prayers - and to donate to the poor. We expect to see Muslim men and women at the mosque at least occasionally. We expect both men and women not to go out to the clubs or the bars, or to drink alcoholic beverages, or to eat meat that has not been Islamically slaughtered, or to use illicit drugs (even, in some cases, smoke).

Even if a Muslim man, or a man whose family is Muslim, does not now abide by these rules, it is very possible for him to have a mid-life change of heart. If a man has such a change of heart, he will probably expect his family to follow him in his change of lifestyle. A woman who marries a Muslim man or a man whose family is Muslim needs to keep these things in mind: if she enjoys clubbing, socialising casually in mixed-gender settings, and eating and dressing in certain ways, she might be better off marrying someone who comes from a cultural background that does not have the kinds of standards that Islam does. Nowadays, an exception that I would feel safe making is the case of the secularist who either claims Islam but is adamently secularist or who has abandoned Islam altogether. Secularists who are dedicated to their worldview are not likely to change their minds halfway through their lives and expect to suddenly live by Islamic principles (though, as I said before, they are just as likely as anyone else to be an abuser).

With all of that in mind, one should remember that violence against women is a human malady. It is not unique to one particular race, religion, ethnicity, colour, language group, or nationality. We all suffer from this unfortunate problem; and we all share the responsibility of improving the lot of the women among us.

As for your own marriage, you know better than your questioner what it is like to be married to your husband. I do not know anything about Egypt, so I cannot offer even my limited anecdotal experience. All that I can say is that if you are married to a man who respects you, appreciates you, and treats you with loving compassion and affection, then you are blessed to have found a good husband. Not a good Muslim husband, or a good Egyptian husband, but a good husband. Marriage is a human experience, and deviations from the marital norm are a human problem.

Edited by pink

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Assalamalaikum,

The movie wasn't even consistant with the book it was based on. Domestic violence has nothing to do with religion race creed color or national origin or even gender.

I saw it years ago, and it was very evident to recognize the propaganda behind the film (remember the closing scene when she reaches the embassy, having the stars and stripes flowing in the air?) Anyhow, you might not know this but the movie was actually filmed in the US and, get this, Israel, so the way it was used shouldn't be all that surprising. Just look at the names in the cast list:

assalamalaikum,

All hollywood movies are full of Jews not everything is a conspiracy. There are plenty of movies where white men abuse their wives just tune in to lifetime.

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you may say it was not a conspiracy, however, how many movies do they have that make the Muslim faith look good? and how many make us look bad? this movie is an obvious attempt at attacking our faith and our culture.......

it may not be a conspiracy by the jews but it is the jews making these movies...so it does have a tendency to make it seem as a conspiracy to make Muslims into bad people in the eyes of the world..... and its no secret they dont like us and this does seem to be a part of their agenda... convince as many people as possible we are evil......

so... call it what you will, and we will call it what we will.......

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The movie is based on a real woman's story, and I have known women who suffered similar cases of being abused and having their child taken over seas by Iranian husband against their will, etc., and even someone who is under threat of that happening as we speak. So there is some basis in fact. At the same time, obviously the movie presents a one-sided view and does not give a balanced view of Islam, Iran, etc.

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