The film, "Verses of Love" brings to view the struggles that Muslims go through in the name of piety. It talks about the Quran as the only guiding principle for Muslims in their entire decision-making. However, modern Muslims do not adhere to all the traditional practices of Islam. The film fails to talk about these divisions between the modern and the tradition. Instead, it chooses to bring up heroes who soften the animosity between the two groups. The "Women Wearing Turban "film presents us with different ideas about the Indonesian Muslims. The two films bring out the suffering and violence activities carried out in Islam to preserve public piety.
The major presentation of gender in most Islamic films and culture helps in shaping and defining masculinity in Islam (Hoesterey and Clark 2012). Most male actors in Indonesia films are represented as violent and aggressive, an accurate representation of how a male is defined in that culture. Besides, these acts of violence are seen as religious piety, and therefore they go without any confrontation. For example, the "Verses of Love" film introduces gender violence as a natural occurrence in the Muslim culture. Noura is mercilessly mistreated by her guardian on the streets of Cairo, and no one seems to be bothered about it except Fahri. Fahri's different reaction to the whole issue is a confusing reaction of what constitute a Muslim man.
An Egyptian man is angry with a lady who offers her seat to an older woman. The man is silenced by Fahri, who quotes for him some of Prophet Muhammad's commands. This scene brings the peaceful version of the Muslims which is not popular. It also shows that there are different types of Muslims (Hoesterey and Clark 2012). Fahri comes from a category that is peace-loving, kind and caring while the Egyptian man comes from a violent and abusive category.
Fahri and his Indonesian friends are the references for what every Muslim man should be. Fahri attends all lecturers without fail, and he interacts freely with other lecturers and fellow students. He is also a kind person who helps his neighbors in shopping, and he is a leader of student association (Weintraub, 2011). The film portrays him as a man who prays regularly, and he does not touch a woman who is not his wife.
The "Women Wearing a Turban" brings another version of Indonesian Islam. Unlike Fahri, who is pious and a defender of women's rights, the film portrays the Indonesia conservative men as domineering and abusive. Also, their hatred towards women is eminent. For example, Anissa's attempt to ride a horse is immediately condemned by her brothers. They tell her that ladies should be in the kitchen, and they should not ride horses. She questions this belief and her father is very angry with her for challenging Islamic culture. Anissa is repeatedly raped and abused by her husband. She is also forced to watch her husband making love to another woman. The scenarios are enough evidence of the plight of women in Islamic culture (Lucking and Eliana 2017).
"3 Prayers 3 Love" is a film that gives a deeper understanding of Muslim masculinity. It presents the real issue of homosexuality in Muslim boarding schools. Homosexuality is an unheard thing in the Muslim culture, and it is strongly condemned (Hoesterey and Clark 2012). This is seen when the cook is beaten and expelled from school for his sexual advances towards students. The film portrays the masculinity definition in Muslim culture when they present men as heterosexual.
Hoesterey, J.B., and Clark, M., 2012. Film Islami: Gender, piety and pop culture in post-authoritarian Indonesia. Asian Studies Review, 36(2), pp.207-226.
Lucking, M., and Eliyanah, E., 2017. Images of authentic Muslim selves: Gendered moralities and constructions of Arab others in contemporary Indonesia. Social Sciences, 6(3), p.103.
Weintraub, A.N. ed., 2011. Islam and popular culture in Indonesia and Malaysia (Vol. 24). Routledge.
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