An inspiring and intimate picture of Muslim sisterhood and collective action.
In the Muslim-dominated communities of Southern India, civil disputes are settled by all-male Jamaats (councils) that frequently apply inconsistent and biased interpretations of Sharia law to divorce requests, family law grievances, domestic violence and murder. Women are not allowed to attend their own hearings, instead relying on male family members to present their cases.
Shining a light on the courageous women living within this legal system, filmmaker Deepa Dhanraj focuses on Sharifa Khanam, who sought to right a wrong by forming the first women's Jamaat in 2004. Khanam and her accomplices challenge the Western image of Muslim oppression: they are women who have found a voice and they're saying "enough". But with limited legal power, how do they achieve their goal of holding the male jamaats to account? Dhanraj's impressive film follows them as they build new models for self-empowerment.
"This is a particularly important film for our times in that it tells a story that runs counter to the dominant stereotypes about Muslim women." – Stephen Hughes, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Deepa Dhanraj is a festival guest.