Monday, March 16, 2009

New Muslim Cool: Upcoming PBS documentary on POV

Check out this trailer for the forthcoming POV film, "New Muslim Cool," scheduled for broadcast on PBS in June:

And here is the blurb
, courtesy

Puerto Rican American rapper Hamza Pérez ended his life as a drug dealer 12 years ago, and started down a new path as a young Muslim.

Now he’s moved to Pittsburgh’s tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family, and take his message of faith to other young people through his uncompromising music as part of the hip-hop duo M-Team.

Raising his two kids as a single dad and longing for companionship, Hamza finds love on a Muslim networking website and seizes the chance for happiness in a second marriage.

But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and challenge himself. He starts reaching for a deeper understanding of his faith, discovering new connections with people from Christian and Jewish communities.

NEW MUSLIM COOL takes viewers on Hamza’s ride through the streets, projects and jail cells of urban America, following his spiritual journey to some surprising places ---where we can all see ourselves reflected in a world that never stops changing.

For more on the rap group M-Team, and most important, to hear what they sound like: check out their myspace page. (I have to say, I HATE the way that myspace looks and works.)

Here's how they describe themselves:

If the word raw manifested itself in physical form, there is a strong possibility it would look, walk, and talk like MTEAM. These brothers view their mics as weapons, their words as ammunition, and the stage as a battle field. True champions of the poor and oppressed, they advance armed with songs of freedom. Born in the jungles of Brooklyn, New York, trained by the sounds of Hector Lavoie, Ishmael Rivera, Kool G. Rap, Public Enemy, and through the blessings of the Most High, their sound was formed. With artillery provided by the likes of BLM, Jihad, O.K., and March the 5th, these brothers have set out on a mission to transform the world with their words, vowing to change it with their hands if words fail them. Sending peace and blessings upon the Prophets and a warning to their enemies, their songs scream resistance and slap oppression in the face. Doc Zhivago and En Sabah Nur are the Young Lords, they are the Black Panthers, they are the Revolution: they are M Team. WAKE time for war!!!

You gotta love it, referencing Hector Lavoie and Ishmael Rivera in the same breath as Kool G. Rap and Public Enemy!

M-Team also have a facebook page, and if you become a fan, and then go to 'boxes' (what's up with the 'new' and not-improved FB??), you can listen to the songs from their album, My Enemy's Enemy.

You may be thinking, Puerto Rican Muslims?? The conversion of US Hispanics to Islam is a much bigger phenomenon than you might imagine, and for more information, I refer you to Hisham Aidi's essential article in Middle East Report, "Let Us Be Moors: Islam, Race and "Connected Histories."

The view of 1492 as a tragic date signaling the end of a glorious era, and the related idea that conversion to Islam entails a reclaiming of that past, is common among the Latino Muslim community in the US. That community, estimated in 2000 at 30,000 to 40,000 members, has grown in the past two years, with Latino Muslim centers and da'wa (proselytizing) organizations in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Fresno and Houston.

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