Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Filmography - Islam: Women and Islam

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2012

Women and Islam

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2012. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete videos holdings on biology topics (including VHS tapes) keyword searches in the library catalog will be necessary:


3 times divorced. 2007.  1 videodisc (74 min.). Khitam, a Gaza-born Palestinian woman, was married off in an arranged match to an Israeli Palestinian, followed him to Israel and bore him six children. When her husband divorced her in absentia in the Sharia Muslim court and gained custody of the children, Khitam was left with nothing. She cannot contact her children, has no property and no citizenship. Although married to an Israeli, a draconian law passed in 2002 barring any Palestinian from gaining Israeli citizenship has made her an illegal resident there. Now she is out on a dual battle, the most crucial of her life: against the court which always rules in favor of the husband, and against the state in a last-ditch effort to gain citizenship and reunite with her children. DVD 5504

After the rape Mukhtar Mai seeking justice in Pakistan. 2006.  1 streaming video file (23 min.). Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped, but it wasn't considered a crime; it was a sentence handed down by a Pakistani tribal council-a punishment for the alleged indiscretions of her younger brother. This ABC News program confronts the council's decision, a ruling declared an outrage by a local imam and others, while introducing the courageous woman who chose to defy custom and fight for justice in the Pakistani courts. Includes commentary by Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of international relations at American University in Washington, D.C.  Streaming video

Covered girls. 2003.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (21 min.). Have you ever seen Muslim-American high school girls in full-length dresses and traditional hijabs (head scarves) playing full-court basketball? Prior to 9/11, the average Westerner had little more than one-dimensional views of Islam and Muslim women. Covered Girls opens a window into the lives of a colorful and startling group of Muslim-American teenage girls in New York and challenges the stereotypes many Americans may have about this culture. The film documents the daily experience of Kiren who coaches her high school basketball team, Amnah who has a black belt in Karate, and Tavasha who is cutting a CD of original rap songs. Their traditional clothing allows them to understand prejudices and to speak out about their faith, especially after 9/11, when people spat upon, pushed and threatened them. They are quite happy that their dress allows men to look at them as people instead of as sex objects. The film follows the girls from a Harlem recording studio to a Brooklyn mosque, revealing typical teenagers suddenly caught in a tug-of-war between religious extremism and the American dream. A closed-captioned version is available. Please specify when ordering.  Streaming video;1630970

Covered the hejab in Cairo, Egypt : a rare look behind the veil in Egypt. 1999.  1 videodisc (25 min.). Examines the reasons behind the increased tendency for Islamic women in Cairo, Egypt, to wear the headscarf called the hejab, or to veil their faces completely. Discusses religious, social, and economic factors. Includes interviews.  DVD 4886

Crimes of honour. 1999.  1 videodisc (44 min.). This is the story of women in Islamic culture who are killed by their male relatives because they are thought to have dishonored their families by engaging in unacceptable relationships with men, or have run away.  DVD 8822

Daughters of Allah. 2000.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (49 min.). Modern Palestinian women face dramatic choices. Trapped between a stalled peace process and an increasingly strong Islamic movement, many of these women find themselves confronted by a host of new challenges. Filmed on the West Bank and in Gaza, the documentary penetrates deeply into a facet of Palestinian life that has hitherto been concealed. It includes interviews with militant but heavily veiled female activists, one of whom speaks out on what she sees as the role of women in a free Palestinian homeland. At Birzeit University we hear from a group of young intellectuals who likewise support the Islamic Front. They too, for ideological and symbolic reasons choose to wear the veil. Put this new Islamic wave is also a source of conflict. To Immrandah, a grandmother, for example, politics are of no concern, but she insists on her right to worship her god, Allah, in her own way. In Gaza, young Reem has to resort to subterfuge and compromise in order to be allowed to pursue her chosen career. And two sisters, Saida and Reema, found the pressure so unbearable that they finally fled.  Streaming video;1630973

Daughters of the Nile. 93.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (47 min.). This beautifully photographed, revealing film about Egypt's women captures their separate and subordinate life under the Islamic code. Men and women speak about their traditions, expectations, and patterns of life. We meet articulate women who have had little schooling and whose lives are centered on childbearing and hard physical work. They acknowledge that their choices in life are limited. The Koran dictates behavior at every stage of life. Their husbands are selected by their fathers. Often, atpuberty they are taken out of school. They unquestioningly accept circumcision, arranged marriages, huge families and polygamous husbands. Women after marriage are secluded and some may never set eyes on another man. By participating in this film, the women question for the first time some of the assumptions of their lives.  Streaming video;1630975

Dishonored story of Mukhtar Mai. 2008.  1 videodisc (52 min.). "In June 2002, a dispute involving a question of honor between the Mai and Mastois clans in rural Pakistan was judged by a local tribal council. When Mukhtar Mai pleaded on her family's behalf, the local imam consented to her punishment as honor-revenge, and she was brutally gang-raped by four men from the Mastois clan.  Although local tradition presumed that Mukhtar would commit suicide because she had been dishonored, this strong-willed peasant woman reported the rape to the local police.  When they refused to do anything, a local journalist published her story, which soon erupted in a national controversy over the oppression of women under Islamic law.  DISHONORED documents the remarkable story of Mukhtar Mai, whose demand for justice received media coverage worldwide, and which over the next few years led to a dramatic series of legal proceedings... Features interviews with Mukhtar Mai as well as a variety of human rights and women's rights activists, lawyers, government officials, politicians and journalists, all of which serve to illuminate the widespread abuse of women throughout the region" -- Container.  DVD 6300

Divorce Iranian style. 2003.  1  videodisc (80 min.). Looks inside an Iranian divorce court and shows how women are treated under Islamic law.  DVD 6555

Expressing the inexpressible Shirin Neshat. 2000.  1 streaming video file (42 min.). An acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and video artist, Iranian-born Shirin Neshat addresses the complex forces shaping the identity of Muslim women throughout the world and explores the social, political, and psychological dimensions of women's experiences. In this program, she explicates her haunting video installations Shadow Under the Web; Turbulent; Soliloquy; Rapture; and Fervor, as well as her seminal series of still images, The Women of Allah. In addition, she discusses being both an insider and an outsider in two different cultures, the narrative power of cinema, sexual taboos in Islamic society, the tension between traditional and modern values, the nature of expression when expression itself is forbidden, and the quiet strength and bravery of women that prompts them to rebel against repression. (42 minutes).  Streaming video

Four women of Egypt.  2006.  1 videodisc (90 min.). Four Egyptian women have the same goals--human diginity and social justice--but each adopts an approach radically different from the others. Muslim, Christian, Jewish or non-religious, their visions of society range from wanting a secular or socialist state to an Islamic one. These friends, deeply committed, argue openly, without ever breaking the bond that unites them.  DVD 7764

Full cover girl How fundamentalism and democracy are eroding women's rights in Iraq. 2008.  1 streaming video file (53 min.). Peace, prosperity, and the implementation of Islamic law: that is the dream of Jinan al-Ubaidy, an influential member of Iraq's parliament who is calling loudly for Sharia-based government-and, as her opponents say, for a return to the subordination of women to men. Filmed on location in war-torn Baghdad, this program exposes the deteriorating state of women's rights as fundamentalist Islamic and burgeoning democratic ideals bury the secular principles that had empowered Iraqi women for decades. Jinan al-Ubaidy and Abir al-Sahlani, a political activist standing in bitter opposition to al-Ubaidy's platform, are featured as Full Cover Girl tracks this tragic conflict of ideologies in which women-targeted by extremists for not wearing hijab, for working outside the home, for driving a car, for having an education-are being killed by the thousands. Additional insights are provided by Paul Bremer, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, and other noteworthy figures. (Portions in other languages with English subtitles, 52 minutes).  Streaming video

Inside a Shari'ah court. 2007.  1 streaming video file (53 min.). Some democratic governments have considered allowing Muslim communities to conduct their own courts of law, or Shari'ah courts. Westerners who oppose such measures cite reports of amputation and stoning wherever Shari'ah has taken hold. This program travels to Nigeria, where Shari'ah law functions alongside the secular court system. Spotlighting an outspoken judge determined to convey the benefits of Islamic law, the film presents cases, verdicts, and sentences that clearly illustrate ways in which Shari'ah is implemented. Although the attitudes of local women toward the court may surprise some viewers, the film pulls no punches in its examination of the precarious rights of women under Shari'ah. Portions are in other languages with English subtitles. A BBC Production. (52 minutes).  Streaming video

Muslim women talk about sex. 2007.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (46 min.). In today s Arab-Muslim culture, the most taboo subject for women is sex. In this film, eight enlightened Muslim women living in France speak out frankly about their sexual education and experiences in relation to Islamic tradition. Young Muslim girls are given no information about their bodies and are so poorly informed that when they first menstruate, they often think they are ill or abnormal. Girls are raised to be completely prudish as far as men are concerned. In contrast, relationships between women are much more comfortable, with a strong sense of conviviality and even sensuality in the haman or communal bath.The women discuss the yearnings they felt for the men they were attracted to, as well as their first sexual experiences. One recalls her exhilaration when, at 16, she first felt desire, but her joy was bittersweet because it came with an overwhelming sense of guilt. Another decided to get rid of her virginity when she was in love for the first time but did it more out of a sense of rebellion than as a search for pleasure. She was not at ease with her body and only discovered pleasurable physical sensations when she was older. One said that after her first orgasm, she cursed her mother for trying to deny her that pleasure. Another could not indulge in sexual acts without imagining her mother in the room with her! She had sex with her boyfriend but afterwards underwent surgery to restore her virginity.For these Muslim women, sexual passion with a lover of their own choosing is empowering. One woman felt lovemaking could be a sacred moment but she was taught to repress this feeling. This remarkable film gives voice to women with the courage to break centuries of taboos and acknowledge their sexual nature.  Streaming video;1652549

Not without my veil; Amongst the women of Oman. 95.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (30 min.). The Western view of the Islamic woman is that she is oppressed and confined. This film on the women of Oman shows a different reality. It introduces us to educated, independent women who dress in the traditional way, yet are moving into new areas for women.Dagmar Taylor- Al Busaidy, who spent her formative years in England, moved back to Oman in 1976 when the new Sultan was ushering in changes. She remembers that when she dressed in Western clothes she was an object of curiosity and had difficulty pursuing her goals. Once she donned the veil, she was free to pursue her vocational interests. Favziya Al-Kindy's father made certain that his daughter was given as good an education as his sons. As a result, she was able to attain a high professional status as an economist in the banking industry. She asserts that women of talent are now given ample opportunity in Oman.Other women have made careers as heads of banks, pilots and doctors. They wear the veil as a symbol of their origins; it does not compromise their strength.  Streaming video;1652559

Offside. 2007.  1 videodisc (92 min.). During the 2006 Iran-Bahrain match, the Tehran soccer stadium roars with 100,000 cheering men and, officially, no women. According to Islamic custom, women are not permitted to watch or participate in men's sports. Many of the ambitious young female fans who manage to sneak into the arena are caught and sent to a holding pen, guarded by male soldiers their own age. Duty makes these young men and women adversaries, but duty can't overcome their shared dreams, their mutual attraction, and ultimately their overriding sense of national pride and humanity.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 3759

Palestinian writers.  2001.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (58 min.). This is a portrait of two important women writers from the West Bank: Sahar Khalifah and Liana Badr. Sahar Khalifah, a feminist and revolutionary, is considered by some to be the most prominent Palestinian novelist. Her novels, including Wild Thorns, The Door of the Sirens and The Sunflowers, reflect her opinions calling for a revision of the male dominated hierarchy in Arab society. After studying in the U.S. for eight years, Sahar returned to Nablus in the West Bank to start a center for Arab women. The documentary follows her as she walks through the old streets of Nablus, talking about her views on religion: "New interpretations of the Koran are needed if women are to advance in the Arab world ... If change does not come through Islam, we will find other ways - perhaps through international law". She also discusses her criticism of the Palestinian Authority and its aging leadership: "How ironic that the Intifada has encouraged women to study at the university but has not freed them from being oppressed and exploited. In fact, Palestinian men who say they are fighting for freedom, equality and justice, deny those rights to women and practice discrimination against women in private." Liana Badr, an intellectual who has experienced several dislocations in her life as a result of being part of the Palestinian Establishment, returned to Palestine after the Oslo Agreement of 1993. She now works for the Palestinian Culture Ministry, writing on themes of Palestinian history and memory and producing films. She recently filmed the Palestinian poet Fadwa Touquan, now in her eighties, well-known as an eminent Palestinian intellectual of the 20th century.  Streaming video;1642916

Portraits in human sexuality Meeting, dating, and maintaining relationships. 2006.  1 streaming video file (36 min.) . This program looks at aspects of how relationships are formed and sustained. Interview segments include a couple who talk about connecting online through; a diverse group of young Muslim women who discuss the liberating effects of physical modesty and Islamic approaches to courting and marriage; and a couple who describe how they met and demonstrate how PREP relationship enhancement classes have strengthened their marriage. (35 minutes).  Streaming video

Prostitution behind the veil. 2006.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (53 min.). Prostitution Behind the Veil explores the lives of two Iranian prostitutes in an uncompromising but sympathetic manner. This cutting-edge film illustrates how prostitution functions in a country where it is banned and where adultery sometimes results in capital punishment. Minna and Fariba, who are good friends, have to make money to support both their children and their drug habits. They find male customers on the streets and have the dilemma of whether to bring their children along with them when they have sex with various men, or to leave the children alone at home. They describe their middle class backgrounds and how mendacious men and drugs led them into prostitution. Men in Iran can find a way to buy sex and still comply with Muslim law by way of "Sighe," a temporary marriage legal in Shia Islam. A Sighe marriage can last from two hours up to 99 years. Both Minna and Fariba participate in this pseudo-marriage with many of their customers . This is a heartfelt film by the director who fled Iran twenty years ago. She was horrified by the widespread prostitution and the huge drug problem. Her comments add perspective and contextual information to the unfolding events.  Streaming video;1642925

Religions of the Book Women serving religion. 91.  1 streaming video file (29 min.). One of the most visible issues facing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is the role of women serving religion. Because of religious and cultural conditioning in the past, women in all three religions have experienced limited roles. Today, though, their voices are being heard. This program traces women's roles in religious tradition and what it means to be a woman in these three religions today. The program also explores the cultural influences of feminism upon religious tradition and the beliefs regarding the ordination of women. (29 minutes).  Streaming video

Saudi solutions. 2006.  1 videodisc (77 min.). Profiles several professional Saudi women in order to understand what it means to be a modern woman in a fundamentalist Islamic society.  DVD 2369

Shackled women Abuses of a patriarchal world. 99.  1 streaming video file (41 min.). With dowries reaching fifty percent of a family's income, a second daughter is often called the girl born for the burial pit.This program assesses second- and third-world abuses of women's rights by the male establishment-and examines how female collaboration sometimes contributes to their perpetuation. Feminist Taslima Nasreen; the author of Brides Are Not for Burning; and others speak out on topics such as dowry deaths, female circumcision, the Islamic zina law, the rigors of hijab, and child prostitution. But does the banding together of women against female infanticide in Tamil Nadu spell the beginning of a women's solidarity movement and a new world order? Some content may be objectionable. (41 minutes).  Streaming video

Sheikha stories A collection of short films. 2009.  1 videodisc (36 min.). Five films about  Muslim women who are leaders and teachers in their mosques.  DVD 7567

Small change, big business The Women's Bank of Bangladesh 10 years later. 2005.  1 streaming video file (55 min.). Micro credit-small loans administered with no collateral requirement-might represent the most powerful weapon in the fight against global poverty. But is micro credit a sustainable solution? This program follows up on the 1995 documentary The Women's Bank of Bangladesh (item #7129) which examined Bangladesh's Grameen Bank, a pioneering micro credit provider focused mainly on struggling women. Small Change, Big Business revisits loan recipients a decade later, studying the long-term effects of micro credit in their households and in their Islamic community. The video also interviews Grameen bank founder Muhammad Yunus, who sheds further light on the bank's methods and goals. Portions are in Bangla with English subtitles. (55 minutes).  Streaming video

That paradise will be mine. 2005.  1 videodisc (55 min.). "A frank portrayal of what it means to be a Dutch Muslim, this eye-opening film follows the lives of three women dealing with the consequences of their choice to convert to Islam." --Container.  DVD 5450

They call me Muslim A documentary. 2006.  1 videodisc (27 min.). Two contrasting profiles of Muslim women who have made opposite decisions about wearing the traditional Muslim headgear, the Hijab.  One in France has chosen to wear the Hijab in defiance of French Law.  The other skirts the law in Iran, by wearing it as little as possible.  DVD 5049

They carry their families. 2000.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (12 min.). Life in a rural village in Mauritania is hard on women. Tradition and Islamic religion are intertwined to reinforce strict gender roles. The husband is the protector and keeper; his word is law. While the men take their ease, the girls and women are off to the fields during the peanut planting and harvest season, walking five miles each way, and coming home with heavy burdens from the fields to prepare the family dinner. They carry the water, sweep the yard, wash the clothes, and care for the children. This short, beautifully filmed video captures succinctly the subservience of women, while at the same time remaining respectful of tradition and culture. There are no drugs, alcohol or loneliness in this kind of community, where family bonds are very strong. We hear from several young Peace Corps workers in the village who are hopeful that by educating and thereby widening the horizons of young women, eventually women will have more choices. From a Western perspective, the future of Africa depends on education and family planning.  Streaming video;1652627

(Un)veiled Muslim women talk about hijab . 2008.  Ethnographic video online.  1 streaming video (36 min.). (un)veiled introduces the audience to 10 Muslim women from different backgrounds who now live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. They discuss the hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women.  Streaming video;763693

Veil of dreams Women's soccer and Islamic tradition in Iran. 2008.  1 streaming video file (47 min.). 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. (47 minutes).  Streaming video

Veiled voices. 2009.  1 videodisc (59 min.). "Women in the Arab world are redefining their role as leaders in Islam. Veiled voices investigates the world of Muslim women religious leaders through the eyes of three women--in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt"--Container.  DVD 6907

Wearing hijab Uncovering the myths of Islam in the United States. 2003.  1 streaming video file (34 min.). 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. A viewable/printable instructor's guide is available online. (34 minutes).  Streaming video

Women and Islam Islam unveiled. 2004.  Filmakers library online.  1 online resource (50 min.). What does the veil mean to Muslim women? Is it a symbol of repression or faith? Journalist Samira Ahmed travels from her home in Britain to the Middle East, Asia, Malaysia and Africa interviewing a wide variety of men and women -- spiritual leaders, educators, and activists to understand the roots of the Islamic view of women. Are the harsh laws regarding women fundamental to the Koran or have they been grafted on to the religion long after the prophet Mohammed's death? In Iran we find that the chador was a sign against the Shah who forcibly westernized Iran. Spiritual values are put in the context of politics. There are women burning hijabs and chanting "no Taliban in Iran." In Cairo we meet the editor of a weekly with an openly feminist agenda, supporting equality but not sexual liberation. And in Turkey, women must fight for the right to wear the veil. A medical student was banned from Istanbul University for wearing a head scarf. In Malaysia 50% of the population is Muslim. In the north, the people are very conservative, whereas in Kuala Lampur the Muslims are more liberal.This wide ranging exploration of women in the Muslim world grapples with the questions of whether there can be democracy in an Islamic state, and how can Muslim women maintain their spiritual connection to the religion without giving up their independence. The film explores issues of circumcision, arranged marriage and polygamy. It shows that some Muslim women are prepared to challenge the mullahs in order to reconcile Islam with modernity.  Streaming video;1645998

Women and Islam. 2003.  Islamic conversations.  1 videodisc (30 min.). Leila Ahmed, professor of women's studies at Amherst, argues the case for revision of the widely-held views of the Islamic world about the role of women, using examples from history and the role played by women in the contemporary society. She explains the origin of the veil, and discusses the issue of marriage and women's rights within marriage.  DVD 7025

Women and Islam. 1993.  1 streaming video file (30 min.). Leila Ahmed, professor of women's studies at Amherst, argues the case for revision of the widely-held views in the Islamic world about the role of women, using examples from history and the role played by women in the contemporary world. She explains the origin of the veil, and discusses the issue of marriage and women's rights within marriage. (30 minutes).  Streaming video

Women's Bank of Bangladesh. 1996.  1 streaming video file (47 min.). More than 100 million people live below poverty level in Bangladesh-many of them women. Thanks to the Grameen Bank and the small-business loans it makes to women only, many of them and their families are beginning to prosper. This program describes the philosophy, development, and function of the bank, then follows the daily activities of three women who have taken out loans to fund their cottage industries. We follow the women to bank-sponsored support groups and business classes, and watch as they sign their names and receive their loans. Allah is going to punish anybody involved in the Grameen Bank!shouts one Islamic leader, who, along with most males, opposes the loans as being contrary to Islamic law. But bank founder and economics professor Muhammad Yunus defends the bank's policies, stating that women in the region are more competitive in business than men. The Grameen Bank model has been copied in more than 40 countries throughout the world. Portions are in Bangla with English subtitles. (47 minutes).  Streaming video

Zanan-e bedun-e mardan = Women without men . 2011.  1 videodisc (95 min.). "Set against the political turmoil of Iran's 1953 coup d'etat, 'Women without men' tells the story of four disparate women whose lives converge in a mystical orchard on the outskirts of Tehran"-- Container.  DVD 8664