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Streaming Video Guides

Use this guide to find streaming alternatives to Media Services DVDs.

Islam Streaming Films

Titles Available as of July 2022

This is a selective list of streaming video holdings in the American University Library. Streaming guides are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date streaming holdings, please refer to our streaming catalog.


Afghanistan: Girl Power!

I think when you are born a woman in Afghanistan, says Kabul native Noorjahan Akbar, "you are taught every day to hate yourself." But, as this film illustrates, Akbar is in no danger of falling into that self-hatred trap. The youthful activist counsels victims of misogynist brutality and has helped establish Young Women for Change, an organization dedicated to improving the lives and human rights of Afghan women. The documentary also features a profile of Trudi-Ann Tierney, an Australian producer who creates shows for Kabul's Tolo TV network. Tierney's difficulties in promoting a progressive image of women, and even in ensuring the safety of female performers, echo the ongoing hurdles Afghanistan faces as a torn and violent nation. 

American Muslim Teens Talk

This video features nine teens in a refreshing, first-person look at modern Muslim American youth who illustrate the diversity that is Islam. They are African-American, American Caucasian, Middle Eastern, from the Asian subcontinent, and Africa. Moderated by Alex Kronemer, one of the producers of PBS’s Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, participants engage in a lively and honest conversation about fitting in, prayer, misunderstandings, dress, fun, drinking, dating, and parents. The video is intended for use in classrooms, youth groups, and other settings specializing in cultural education. 

Bacha Posh: You Will Be a Boy, My Daughter

In Afghanistan, an old tradition allows families without a son to transform one of their daughters into a boy. These little girls, known as bacha posh, spend their early years dressed as boys and are accorded all the privileges and responsibilities of being male-but after puberty, they must revert to the female roles into which they were born. This program follows four girls who temporarily became the sons their parents longed for. Shabina has recently become bacha posh to help her disabled father and seems to be taking it all in stride. For Mariam and Naid, it's time to change back, but both are desperate to hang on to their male identities. Lastly we meet Jack, a bacha posh who refused to change back and who now heads for Europe. What new discoveries will the freedoms of the West invite?  


Bhutto tells the epic story of one of the most fascinating characters of our time - Benazir Bhutto, the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation. A favored daughter of the family often called the "Kennedys of Pakistan," Benazir was elected Prime Minister after her father was overthrown and executed by his own military. Her two terms in power saw extreme acts of courage and controversy as she tried to clean up Pakistan's corrupt political culture while quelling the fires of radical Islam that threaten to engulf the region. A fascinating array of archival footage and interviews with family members and leading experts brings life to this tale of Shakespearean dimension in the country the Economist calls "the world's most dangerous place".

The Bridge: How Islam Saved Western Medicine

While it is true that the Greeks invented philosophy, mathematics, and science, it is equally true that after the fall of the Roman Empire, throughout the Dark Ages, much knowledge was preserved by Islamic cultures who later passed it back to the West. This program uses footage shot in the Aegean, Middle East, Iran, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany to explore the process by which medical knowledge was passed on. Throughout the program, the brilliant medieval world of Islam is revealed. Monuments, historical sites and personalities, libraries and universities woven into scenes of everyday Islamic life paint a colorful, vivid picture of the period. This revealing documentary reinforces our debt to the Islamic world and clarifies history. 

China: Crackdown

As several nations join the fight against Islamic State (ISIS), China is intensifying its crackdown on a resident Muslim community in the remote northwest of the country in what it claims is its own war on terror. The Uighurs have inhabited the sprawling and spectacular Xinjiang province for centuries, but cells of violent separatists have brought a crackdown from Beijing that's making life extremely difficult for the law-abiding majority. Amid claims the Communist Government is trying to erase the Uighur heritage and as authorities impose new barriers to reporting in China, Stephen McDonell heads into Silk Road territory and one of China's most sensitive issues - which explains the shadowy, ever-growing team sent to follow him. 

Citizen Khan

Born in 1860, Albert Khan made a name for himself as a banker, philanthropist and pacifist. His life and vision reflect on the utopia and humanistic beliefs of the first half of the 20th Century. Discover the man behind the richest collection of the first color photographs (Autochrome) captured between 1909 and 1931, documenting the world's diversity and portraying people and arts from around the world. A priceless treasure which has fueled the imagination of generations of travelers and filmmakers.

Crescent and Cross: Rise of Islam and Age of Crusades

This program portrays the Crusades as a response to the rapid rise of Islam. It looks at various orders of Christian monks and their role in the preservation of religious, artistic, and cultural aspects of civilization. The Inquisition-the Church's response to the rise of heresy and the practice of witchcraft and magic in the Middle Ages-illustrates the ultimate in religious intolerance which still exists today. 

Essentials of Faith: Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam-belief in one God, praying five times a day, fasting, giving to charity, and going on pilgrimage-guide all Muslims. But cultural and political influences have shaped the observance of the faith in various ways from country to country. This program explores the beliefs of four Islamic leaders and scholars who communicate penetrating insights and observations on the contrasts and continuity within their religion. Interviewees include Imam Abdul Sajid of the Al-Hijrah Trust, chef and TV show host Michael Bukht, prominent London banker Kosser Sheikh, and Professor Haleh Afshar, a lecturer in politics and women's studies at the University of York. 

Eye of the Storm: Jerusalem's Temple Mount

At the heart of the Middle East conflict stands the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Holy ground for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, this 35-acre plot is the world's most contested piece of land. Filmed on location, this timely program presents a wide array of perspectives on the role and future of the Temple Mount. Numerous interviews bring together political and religious activists-from moderate to radical-from all three faiths, including Jewish groups actively preparing for the reestablishment of King Solomon's Temple and evangelical Christians taking similar steps that they believe will hasten the Second Coming.

Gender Me: Homosexuality in the World of Islam

Filmed in Istanbul and Oslo, this artistic documentary by Turkish/Norwegian filmmaker Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen openly explores what it is like to be both gay and Muslim. Through the interrelated stories of a gay rights activist, a gay imam, drag artists, and others, Gender Me gently denounces homophobia in general, encourages discourse and engagement within Islam as a positive societal approach to coming to terms with sexual otherness, and seeks to advance a loving appreciation of the oneness of all humankind. 


Enshrined in history as the last stand of Spanish Islam, Granada offers visitors one of the world's great architectural treasures: the Alhambra. This program showcases the elaborate palace complex and many other landmarks found in the city. Viewers will receive a tour of many buildings and chambers within the Alhambra, gaining an understanding of its geometric and poetic design and its significance in both Muslim and Christian cultural heritage. Other urban features include El Generalife, the palace of Daralhorra, the Tombs of the Catholic Monarchs, the house of Lorca in the Garden of San Vicente, street markets full of Arabian spices and other goods, and a bull ring transformed into a nightclub. 

Hold Your Breath

Mohammad Kochi is an elderly man from Afghanistan, now living in California, who's been diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer. This documentary looks at the clash between ancient Islamic traditions and contemporary medical technology through the eyes of both the family and the doctors.

I Am a Sufi, I Am a Muslim

This program introduces Sufism, a branch of Islam which is much less well known in the West than some of the more fundamentalist forms which are frequently in the news. The program travels to India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Macedonia to explore exactly what Sufism is and observe how it is practiced in various parts of the world today. Among the many aspects of Sufism featured in the program are the whirling dervishes of Turkey, who find God through ecstasy; ecstatic fakirs in Macedonia, where there is a big revival in popular Sufism; and the vital role of music in Sufism in India and Pakistan. The program also features Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, perhaps the most well-known performer of Qawali music. 

Inside the Koran

 Muslims following its precepts. Yet within this singular religious community there are profound differences in attitudes about peace, violence, punishment, forgiveness, and the status of women. This eye-opening film goes deep into the heart of the Muslim world to explore the history and current state of Islam. It also delves into the personal lives of its subjects, who range from ayatollahs and grand imams to simple farmers and women living in veiled seclusion; their relationship with this holy Book reveals a complex, beautiful and often contradictory guide for humanity. 

Inside Mecca

Each year millions of travelers flock to Mecca, undertaking the Haj, or pilgrimage, required of all devout Muslims. Few people outside of Islam, however, have seen this ancient and sacred city. This program offers an unprecedented look at the birthplace of Mohammed and the rituals that bring together the followers of the world's fastest-growing religion. Photographer Reza Deghati, himself a Muslim, gained unparalleled access to the "Sacred Territory" of the Haj last year and brought back still images of the event never before seen by most Westerners. Now he ushers viewers back to Mecca to capture the exclusive story of the city's traditions and holy places.


In the Islamic Republic of Iran, battle lines are drawn between conservative clerics claiming a God-given right to rule and reformers challenging their authority. This provocative program seeks to understand what happens when a modern state is re-created based on fundamentalist Islamic principles, and whether its society should be open and democratic or oppressed and authoritarian. From Iran's chaotic capital Tehran to its holy city of Qom, Iranians share their thoughts on life before the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, the brutal eight-year war with Iraq, and the struggle Islamic reformers face against hard-line Muslims to establish a progressive government in place of a Republic they believe has lost its way. 


Smith discovered Islam as an adult, and became enamored with Islamic conceptions of order, justice, mercy, and compassion. He still prays five times a day as Muslims do. The Sufis opened the doors of Islam to Smith. Through their trance-inducing dances, these mystics bring God into the immediate moment. Smith and Moyers discuss misconceptions about Islam held in the West today. 

Islam in China

This episode travels deep into China's Gobi Desert. We profile Chinese Islamic leaders and find out how they try to maintain a delicate political balancing act-reassuring the Chinese government while maintaining a thriving community. We also discover an exotic and unusual hybrid of Islam and Chinese Daoist culture, merged with the Socialism of the past-the option for women, including mothers and daughters, to become Chinese Islamic clergywomen is one aspect of this phenomenon. Chinese authorities have accused some Muslim groups of terror attacks and advocating a separation from China, which deeply worries Chinese Muslims. 

Islam: Surrender to God

The word "Islam" can be translated as "surrender," meaning that Muslims strive to serve God and live according to his will. This program provides a Quranic biography of Muhammad, Islam's founder, and a guide to main Islamic beliefs. Through conversation with a young follower, viewers learn about the Five Pillars and the observance of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. The video also touches on the Shia/Sunni split and the role of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as prophets. Filmed on location in Australia, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Jordan. 

Islamic Art: India and the Middle East

In this program, art critic Waldemar Januszczak travels through the heart of the Middle East and beyond to study a wide range of Islamic architecture, decoration, and art objects. Providing helpful historical background on the faith-with an eye on the explosive spread of early Islamic culture-the program examines the pristine beauty of India's Taj Mahal as well as one of the world's oldest surviving mosques, and what may be its most spectacular: the Great Mosque in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Dispelling the myth that Islam forbids all pictorial images, Januszczak analyzes mosaics commissioned by Umayyad caliphs Al-Walid I and II-including one uninhabited cityscape that seems to depict heavenly paradise. 

A Jihad for Love

Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad, Islam is the world’s second largest and fastest growing religion. Gay, Muslim filmmaker, Parvez Sharma, travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith, discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims. Produced by Sandi DuBowski (Trembling Before G-d) and Sharma, A Jihad for Lovewas filmed in 12 countries and 9 languages, and comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, it reclaims the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, whose true meaning is akin to "an inner struggle" or "to strive in the path of God," allowing its remarkable subjects to move beyond the narrow concept of Jihad as holy war.

Jihadi Brides

Why are young women giving up the security of British citizenship, the love and support of their families and the comforts of Western living to become part of the Islamic State, the self-styled "caliphate" fighting its way through Syria and Iraq? This BBC program explores the stories of five separate disappearances - from 21-year-old Aqsa Mahmood, a student from Glasgow, to the Halane twins from Manchester who were just 17 when they left for Syria. Friends and family offer an insight into the minds of these women at the time of their disappearance, while footage and the testimony of those with first-hand experience of the Jihadist group explain what the women's new lives are likely to be like. 

Koran by Heart

In this 80-minute documentary, three 10-year-old children leave their native countries to participate in one of the Islamic world's most famous competitions, a test of memory and recitation known as The International Holy Koran Competition. Up against much older students, these youngsters have committed the 600 pages of the Koran to memory, and will put their skills to the test before the elite of the world's Muslim community in Cairo, Egypt. In the midst of this intense international competition, the three young competitors-two boys from Senegal and Tajikistan, and one girl from the Maldives -face uncertain futures at home, as they are caught between fundamentalist and moderate visions of Islam. 

Laïcité, inch'Allah

This film is a cinematic exploration of secularism in the Muslim country of Tunisia before and after the deposition of dictator Ben Ali. Made at the height of the 2010-2011 revolutions in North Africa, the film has proven so controversial that it has made the director a target of extremist death threats. Officially, Tunisia is not an Islamic nation. But over and over, [director] El Fani meets Tunisians who mistakenly believe that it is illegal to serve alcohol to Arabs, break the fast during Ramadan, or practice a religion other than Islam. In these encounters, she sees troubling signs that Tunisia may be becoming less tolerant of non-Islamic beliefs. This film documents Tunisians resisting religious ideology and fighting for a secular state in their everyday lives. 

Muslim Televangelists: Voices of Islam's Future

These superstar preachers bring the word of Allah straight to TV, computer, or mobile phone. They're changing the image of extremism that Islam struggles to shrug off. This documentary gets up close and personal with evangelist preachers like Amr Khaled, who are hailed as the future of Islam. "Islamic religious discourse has stagnated in the last 200 years," Amr Khaled says to a captivated crowd. "It has failed to respond to current issues in society." He speaks for an hour, and leaves his audience of mostly young and female Muslims in tears. With Time magazine voting Amr Khaled the 13th most influential person in the world, he charts a phenomenon that is finally bringing Islam up to speed with the modern world. 

Muslims in Appalachia: Islam in Exile

This program examines the surprisingly rapid growth of Islam in the heart of America's Bible Belt, a predominantly fundamentalist Christian locale. Yet for Muslims living in Appalachia, the daily challenge lies not so much in acceptance by their neighbors as with practicing their religion in a country whose overall culture is so often at odds with their own beliefs. Interviews with refugees living in the region and with experts in American Islam reveal the resiliency of a faith that can thrive in exile. The history of Islam, Islamic contributions to the arts and sciences, and common ground between Muslims and Christians are also highlighted.

The Perfumed Garden

Through interviews with men and women of all ages and classes this film explores the myths and realities of sensuality and sexuality in Arab society, a world of taboos, of erotic literature and films. It begins looking at a more permissive history, and ends with the experiences of contemporary lovers from mixed backgrounds. The film discusses pre-marital sex, courtship and marriage, familial pressures, social taboos and issues of language. It also demonstrates how the rich legacy of fantasy in the A Thousand and One Arabian Nights still permeates contemporary Arab culture.

Pop Goes Islam

4shbab, "Islam's own MTV," was launched by Egyptian entrepreneur Ahmed Abu Haiba to bring contemporary music to young Muslims without showing scantily-clad women - or any women at all. Yasmine Mohsen, who adheres to a similar mix of Islamic modesty and pop cultural sensibilities in her career as a veiled fashion model, successfully petitioned Haiba for her own girl-centric show on 4shbab. Their collaboration has angered Muslim traditionalists, although Haiba and Mohsen would both be considered conservative by Western standards. In this program Ahmed Abu Haiba and Yasmine Mohsen discuss their goals for 4shbab and the challenges of being at the vanguard of cultural change within their religion.

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People

Throughout its history Hollywood has portrayed Arabs as buffoons or bandits. The video seeks to rectify this stereotyping by comparing it to other forms of racist imagery and by suggesting alternative narratives that treat the Arabs as human, not demons.

The Religion of Abraham 

Did Muhammad want to create a new religion? Why does Islam purport to be the religion of Abraham? Why does Muhammad situate himself in the long line of prophets, just after Jesus? Is this the reason the names of Muhammad and Jesus appear together on the inscription on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem? Why has Islam been considered a heresy of Christianity? 

A Road to Mecca : The Journey of Muhammad Asad 

The story of Leopold Weiss, a Viennese Jew who converted to Islam in the 1920's and became the Muslim scholar Muhammad Asad. 

Sufi Soul: The Mystical Music of Islam

As Muslim extremists dominate the headlines, writer and historian William Dalrymple explores an altogether different side of Islam. This program follows Dalrymple on a personal journey into the mystical and musical side of Islam as he charts the traditions of Sufi music in Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Morocco. 


Not too far from Timbuktu, now ruled by religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Tonya, and Issan, their shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family had been spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu, but when their destiny changes abruptly, Kidane must face the new laws of the foreign occupants. 

Tomorrow’s Islam

Both in principle and historically, Islam is a pluralistic and progressive faith. Unfortunately, world events involving extremist groups and fundamentalist regimes have projected a distorted image of the religion into the West. In this program, devout Muslim intellectuals-Ridwan al-Killidar, of the Al Khoei Foundation; Baroness Pola Manzila Uddin, the first Muslim woman to sit in Britain's House of Lords; the "Muslim Martin Luther," Tariq Ramadan; fiery Brookings scholar Muqtedar Khan; and others-correct misconceptions while envisioning an Islam that is at home in a modernized, interconnected world: one that retains the best of the tradition while embracing ijtihad, individual reformist thinking, to adapt the religion to the 21st century.

Turkey's Tigers: Integrating Islam and Corporate Culture

For years, Turkey has been run by a stridently secular business and political elite, while its devout Muslim citizens have been pushed to the political and economic fringes. But now, even the most committed Muslims are embracing Western-style capitalism and commerce-and are ascending in Turkish society at the ballot box and in big business. This Wide Angle documentary captures a modern-and to many Westerners, surprising-face of Islam rarely seen in the American media. The program follows prominent members of Turkey's up-and-coming business community-including two rival fashion entrepreneurs, one of whom has founded his company on Islamic principles-as they develop and carry out their manufacturing and marketing strategies. In addition, Turkish political cartoonist Salih Memecan discusses his work, Islam's relationship with the West, and the benefits of Turkey's association with Europe with anchor Daljit Dhaliwal. 

Veil of Dreams: Women's Soccer and Islamic Tradition in Iran

Exploring a clash between sacred customs and contemporary athletic aspirations, this program follows an Iranian women's soccer team daring to push traditional limits and pursue victories both on and off the field. Interviews with players and their families are combined with commentary by supporters of the sport as well as cultural leaders in the wider region who convey various opinions about its prospects. Specific topics include: what it's like to play soccer (or football) with a chador or headscarf; the team's rigorous preparations for an overseas trip; the construction of sports facilities in the Middle East; perceptions of female athletes within male-dominated Iranian society; and more.

Voices from the Islam Center: Islam Vs. Islamists

A Muslim journalist in France can't leave his home without two bodyguards supplied by the government after exposing Islamic terrorist plots in Paris. A devout Muslim doctor in Arizona is vilified in the local Muslim press for insisting that the American Muslim community must speak out against terrorism in the post 9/11 world. Two years before 9/11, a Sufi imam in Michigan warns the State Department about Osama bin Laden and probable Al Qaeda attacks on America only to be seen as an alarmist and ostracized by much of the Muslim community. This program looks at some of the roots of extremist ideology being exported around the world as the fight for the identity of the religion itself unfolds.

Wearing Hijab: Uncovering the Myths of Islam in the United States

In America, there are many misconceptions about Islam, particularly concerning its distinctive veil known as hijab. But how do Muslim women in this country who wear hijab feel about it? In this program, six Muslim women from six different ethnic backgrounds discuss their relation to this traditional garment, as well as what it means in a more general way to practice Islam in the U.S. Interviews with spouses and family members also shed light on the spiritual and cultural dimensions of this practice. 

Women and Islam

In this module, viewers will hear that during Muhammad’s lifetime, many of his policies on women were significantly different from those of surrounding cultures, including forbidding female infanticide, giving women legal rights in marriage, permitting women to divorce, and protecting women’s inheritance rights. This module explores the role of women in Islam, including differing views on the hijab and its place in society.


Kingdom of Heaven 

Set in 12th century Europe and the exotic East, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is an epic romantic action film about a young peasant (Orlando Bloom) who becomes a renowned knight, saves a kingdom, and falls in a love with a princess. From Ridley Scott, the master of the modern epic. 

Life of Pi 

Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, is a magical adventure story centering on Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zookeeper. Dwellers in Pondicherry, India, the family decides to move to Canada, hitching a ride on a huge freighter. After a shipwreck, Pi is found adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, all fighting for survival. 

Modest Reception

Directed by Mani Haghighi. Leila and Kaveh are a mysterious pair from Tehran, traveling the mountainous countryside in their Lexus coupe to push big bags of money on the locals. This turns out to be not so easy, but fascinating to watch, as the cagey couple invent increasingly brazen stratagems to place cash in the hands of the wary, proud or indifferent. Will they push things too far? Are they losing sight of their mission? What exactly is their mission? Led by riveting performances from Taraneh Alidoosti and writer-director Mani Haghighi, this bold comedy-drama unfurls with unexpected force amid subtle themes of power, privilege and corruption. Country of production: Iran.