For Syrian Girls Learning the Koran, Knowledge Is Power


Interspersed throughout the film is video of conservative clerics. One says, "Our Lord created four duties for women that no one can argue with: reproduce, raise the children, take care of her husband, take care of the house."

Al-Habash answers, "Education is a form of worship." Memorize the Koran, and you can't have a man telling you that the Koran says you are not to leave the house, that you are not to work. Knowledge is power. The first line of the Koran is about reading.

A group of girls don the hijab for the first time, as others chant, "Now we are veiled, there is light in our eyes."

On graduation day, the teacher, proud and forceful, tells her students to speak up if there's something in society they don't like, that they are free in their choices, free in their way of thinking, free in their faith. And yes, religious law does allow a woman to be president.

During the Arab Spring, in early 2011, Nix said that back in the U.S. she "obsessively watched what was happening in Egypt. Julia and I talked about it a lot. We thought, This won't happen in Syria. We couldn't imagine people would revolt because it's so repressive." It surprised her when Syrians began to protest, and how "people were and continue to be so brave and stand up to this regime," risking their lives "every time they step into the street."

At the end of the film, the viewer learns that one year into the uprising, the family has left the country and the mosque is closed. Nix's memories of Damascus are filled with superlatives: a striking, beautiful, ancient city with people who are warm, hospitable and gracious. And her memories of the mosque are of a "a hopeful place and an optimistic place. It was very warm and welcoming, vital and alive. That's different from how a lot of parts of Damascus feel. A lot of women [went] to the mosque to get out of the house."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 16808221.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...