Instead of immediately heading home after graduation, Yeasmine Khalique ’10 stayed on campus for two weeks to work on a film with Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Etin Anwar. During those weeks Khalique and Anwar could be spotted in the new Technology Resource Center on the first floor of the Warren Hunting Smith Library, working on post-production and editing. The film, tentatively titled “Dating Muslims: American Stories” looks to profile the hidden world of the American Muslim dating scene. In a religion where many marriages are pre-arranged, the idea of pre-marital relationships is a highly controversial one. The film features interviews with many immigrants who have come to America from countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine, Albania and Guyana. For Khalique, who came to United States from Bangladesh when she was 4 years old, this film is one that holds a great deal of personal interest.
“I want to put this issue out into the Muslim community,” she says. Khalique now lives in the Queens borough of New York City, and helped Anwar gain access to the Bangladeshi community in the city this past spring break to film interviews. Anwar has been accumulating footage for two years in New York, completing most of her interviews with an older, adult group. Khalique reached a younger group of Muslims, and so the two together were able to cover multiple generations. Anwar is interested in exploring the tensions created in the intergenerational gap between Muslims in American communities, as well as creating an interfaith dialogue between Muslims and those who practice other religions.
“I trust Yeasmine on an intellectual and creative level, so we are able to effectively collaborate,” says Anwar. The two met in the spring of Khalique’s first year when she took a course offered by Anwar, “REL 236: Gender and Islam.” Creating this film has been a learning process for both Anwar and Khalique, varying from increasing their knowledge of film editing to understanding more about the differences between generations of American Muslims.
Christopher Drake ’10 also assisted with initial post-production. Anwar’s research was made possible by generous funding from the Provost’s Office, and her trips to New York City were helped by faculty grants. Anwar’s most recent book was “Gender and Self in Islam,” available from RoutledgeCurzon publishers.