Koran by Heart: One Chance to Remember

Koran by Heart: One Chance to Remember
Genre:
Documentary | Director: Greg Barker | Language: English, Arabic, English Subtitles | Length: 90 minutes | Country: Egypt, Global | Year: 2011 | Rating: NR

There is a passage in the Qur’an that says if you memorize the Qur’an and teach it to others, you will be successful in this life and the next life.” In Koran by Heart, the young scholar who says this has already committed the entire Muslim holy book to memory. He has also earned a place in the Islamic world’s oldest Qur’an memorization contest—though he’s only ten.

Every year, about 100 of Islam’s best young students from around the world come to Cairo for the International Holy Koran Competition. Many are in their late teens, some as young as seven. Koran by Heart follows the progress of three scholars, a girl and two boys, all ten years old, as they compete against students who, in some instances, are nearly twice their age.

Koran by Heart captures the skill, determination, and faith of the young competitors, but never lets the viewer forget that they are children: the solemn girl we watch as she accepts a prize from the president of Egypt is the same high-spirited kid who squeals with delight on her first camel ride.

Viewing guide and related resources available here (Muslim Journeys | Item #308: “, August 21, 2015 http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/items/show/308.)

Available for free streaming online here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards:  6.C.1.1, 6.C.1.2, 7.C.1.2, WH.H.2.5

Shadow in Baghdad

Shadow in Baghdad
Genre:
Documentary | Director: Duki Dror | Language: Arabic, English, Hebrew, with English Subtitles | Length: 70 minutes | Country: Israel, Iraq, Jordan | Year: 2013 | Rating: N/A

SHADOW IN BAGHDAD tells the story of Linda Abdul Aziz, who escaped the upheaval of Iraq in the early 1970’s to Israel, and her father, who disappeared shortly thereafter to an unknown fate. The film follows Linda as an unexpected connection with a young Iraqi journalist sets her back on the path towards Baghdad and the truth behind her father’s disappearance. As mutual suspicion converts to trust, the two begin to revisit a painful past, drawing closer and closer to the tragic story of Linda’s father’s ending. What they ultimately uncover is not only the fate of Linda’s father but that of the once thriving Iraqi Jewish community whose over 2,000 years’ history came to an abrupt end in the 1970’s.

Available to stream online for a small fee here.