Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NEW ISLAMIC CINEMA TO PROMOTE WORLD MUSLIM UNITY AND GREATER UNDERSTANDING WITH THE WEST.


By Mansor bin Puteh.

(Note: This article was first published in Yemen Times, on 7 April, 2011, a few days after Mansor left Sana’a, Yemen, where the article was written, to go to Dubai, U.A.E. and back to Malaysia.)

…More than that, it can finally create equilibrium in the lives of Muslims, which no amount of money and material wealth can create as economic disparity can supersede even religious considerations and emotions.  

First there is the Halal Food Industry, then there is the Islamic Banking System, all of which are prescribed in the Koran and Hadith but which had taken centuries for Muslim countries and religious and other leaders to introduce and expand.    

But how long does it have to take before the Muslim leaders finally realize the need for them to take up on my proposal to introduce and create the New Islamic Cinema, by first understanding the good that it could bring to all – to the World Muslim Ummah or People and also the world? We'll see.      

The Halal industry took a while to happen, while the Islamic banking system took a longer while still.    

In fact the Islamic was only first introduced in the 1960s by a bank in Mesir, who was worried about its negative reaction that they called it by a more neutral name.    

But look what happened to it now? Islamic banking has become a major feature in international banking so much so every country wants to be involved with it including the non-Muslim countries.    

The large number of Muslim countries has forced the reshaping of international banking.    

Will the same happen with the New Islamic Cinema, and to what effect?    

For starters let's consider this: There have been many films from Muslim – countries that have received international recognition in Europe and other countries.    

There could be also a phenomena concerning this, ad it could be taken to mean how the West and other countries want to relate to Muslims through the medium of the cinema, by watching such films and especially by getting involved in the production of other films too.    

The underlying notion is how the motion picture industry and its related activities could be seen and many believe, it can cause the lessening of unnecessary tension and excessive outpouring of emotions that could further divide the different civilizations so that the do not just clash as what Samuel Huttington had smartly tried to caution, but to ensure that I say, these civilizations do not together CRASH in the Crash of the Civilization, as what is obviously happening since the crash of the former Twin Towers in Manhattan.

America or no country can be said to have benefited if the Muslim countries are in shambles. What thrill do they get in pursuing Muslim 'terrorists' and 'militants' all of whom they had created in the first place in films and then in real life anyway?    

Therefore, I may be the first person in the world to talk about such a cinema, but in actual fact it was already 'introduced' in the West a while ago - or by the Cannes Film Festival which highlighted many new post-Shah and Khomeini Iran, without them talking about it in the same way as I do.      

In truth, even I cannot lay claim to want to introduce the New Islamic Cinema as its inherent values and qualities are all enshrined in the Koran and Hadith which regulate the lived of Muslims.    

While the Halal industry aims to regulate the eating habits of Muslims and to exhibit its peculiarity to the non-Muslims, and the Islamic banking has other virtues which are to create harmony and appreciation of Islamic ways and styles in human interaction dealing with money.    

These seem to have been explained and generally understood by all - Muslim and their non-Muslim brethren alike, who have also accepted these as part and parcel of our common daily lives, even in the non-Muslim countries, but what possible uses are there for the New Islamic Cinema?    

Surely, it is not just for some Muslim filmmakers to win recognition in the West, which could still be admired and respected for they had not something to diffuse
tension and create understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.    

Unfortunately such efforts have not created the impact that many in the world had desired as there is still tension everywhere and no one can predict what else could happen next that could create the New Cold War between the Muslim World and the West.    

More than that the New Islamic Cinema can be more useful in ways that are unimaginable as they include the interplay of domestic politics in the respective Muslim countries as well as internationally, and encompassing almost all the elements – sociological, psychological, creative, artistic, intellectual, religious, historical, geographical and economical too...    

These are the same elements which had come into play in the creation of Hollywood which can be said to have caused Americans to be able to contain whatever negative thoughts they may have and put them to positive use through the medium of the cinema.      

Hollywood can be said to have provided a huge outlet to Americans to contain themselves, and it has also managed to create images of themselves and of America to show to themselves and to the whole world.    

Whereas, without such a setup in the Entire Muslim World, many unnecessary issues and petty matters had arose.    

This situation has also forced images of Islam and Muslims to be imagined by those who have not actually seen any real Muslim through to his heart, other than by seeing him from his outward appearance which is deceiving.    

And as such, many non-Muslims tend to be confused.    

In the wider context, one can even say many leaders of Muslim countries too do not know what their own people desire other than to have the basic amenities.    

The magic and usefulness of the cinema have never been taken seriously by any Muslim leader or country, despite the over-presence of Hollywood films which they claim to be corrupting many young Muslims, yet they did not once ponder to ask themselves why Hollywood had gone to become what it is today, when in fact it was not so earlier in its development.      

Rudolf Valentino played lead roles of Arab sheikhs in the silent films produced by Hollywood such as 'The Sheik' (sic) and 'The Son of Sheik' (sic).    

He became America's romantic heroes. Yet today, Arab or Muslim characters are not so highlighted in such manner or to cause them to be endeared with.    

Fortunately, the situation can change be changed with the creation of the New Islamic Cinema so the best creative minds in the Entire Muslim and non-Muslim Worlds can be engaged to cause this to happen.    

If this can happen, there can also be dividends in the overall relationship between their political, military and media masters whose interactions can be said to have created many of the world's tensions that we have seen in our lifetime.    

So who says the cinema cannot do wonders?    


No comments: