Me and Mooz-Lum

**Spoiler Alert: if you haven’t seen Mooz-Lum some of the plot is discussed below**

I didn’t have any idea that I would watch the movie Mooz-Lum and leave the theater literally on the verge of tears.

The story in a nutshell is about a boy named Tareq who is heading off to college, and while he is going through his first few weeks of school, he has flashbacks of different experiences in his life. We learn that Tareq had a strict upbringing due to an authoritarian father. Tareq gets sent to a Quran school where he is abused and that basically sets up his negative perception of Islam. However, as the film progresses you see positive Muslim roles in the film who are trying to reach out to him. In the end Tareq seems to have come to some peace with his identity, but you’re still left wondering.

There was something so intense in the storyline, something that felt sort of hidden beneath the entire film. And that was this phenomena of Muslims in America and what our identity should be.

I don’t want to get into a religious debate. But for me this was very personal.

It reminded me of my own childhood. Of growing up in a strict religious household where we didn’t have television and were eventually home-schooled because my parents were afraid of us getting influenced by the negative pressures of society.

As a parent now I can look back and see that my parents were young and doing what they thought was best. But I also see that they were highly influenced by the people they spent their time with. This was a time, at least in my opinion, when a very strict interpretation of Islam was the majority here in the United States. It was a version that people often held to be black or white. You either did things a certain way or you weren’t considered to be on the “right path”.

The movie brought out emotions I’ve been bottling up for some time.

Lately I’ve been searching for what it is that I stand for and believe in. I know that I’m Muslim and that I follow Islam, but I admit that most of what I know is what my parents taught me and not what I have tried to learn on my own. I’ve also had plenty of my own negative experiences that have blurred the line between what is Islam and what is people’s misinterpretation.

Mooz-Lum inspired me to actually search deeper within myself.

I feel that it’s my duty now to understand my religion, because I believe once I do, I’ll finally be able to say that I know who I am.

Have any of you had similar experiences, where something made you reflect on your beliefs/values?

Bonus: Click here to read our exclusive interview with the director of Mooz-Lum.