DVD Release – A Message from the East – February 22nd, 2011

A Message from the East will officially be available on DVD as of Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 via http://www.messagefromtheeast.com/

Thank You to everyone for your patience and continued support throughout the long process of the making of this film!

Please help us spread the word! Invite your friends to this Facebook event! Together we can tell the world who Allama Muhammad Iqbal was, and why the understanding of his philosophy and poetry is now more important than ever before!

Special Thanks to DISNA
Dr. Iqbal Society of North America
http://www.disna.us/

A Powerful New Documentary Film on the life and teachings of Allama Muhammad Iqbal: Islam’s most important spokesman of the 20th Century.

Official Selection Beirut International Film Festival 2010
Official Selection Muslim Fest 2010
Official Selection Salaam Film Festival 2010
Official Selection Fargo Film Festival 2010
Official Selection Mammoth Film Festival 2009


—- Synopsis —-

A Message from the East is an inspirational film about the life and work of Muhammad Iqbal, the national poet of Pakistan. A crew of 10 Chicago Filmmakers traveled from Germany, Dubai, Pakistan, Turkey, Spain, Canada, and parts of the United States to retrace the steps and thoughts of the most inspiring Muslim Poet of the 20th Century.

This film seeks to answer the misunderstood question: “Where are the moderate Muslims?” and it decisively shows us they are here, their voices are strong, and they have been with us for quite some time.

Muhammad Iqbal was a man who understood the nature of contradiction and the necessity of balancing the converging forces in our lives. An inspiration to the people of the subcontinent and an advocate of cultural understanding and peace, Iqbal was instrumental in the stages leading up to the Partition of India and the Creation of Pakistan. A poet, philosopher, lawyer, and a political activist, Iqbal spoke of the power we have as individuals to strengthen ourselves and our communities through respect for the cultural other and by being engaged with the present moment. Through the inspiration of the 13th Century Mystical Poet Rumi from Turkey, Iqbal believed the problems of his own time would not be solved unless we had a greater understanding of ourselves. It is our responsibility to be actively involved in our own communities and co-creators of the world we wish to see.

In order for us to understand the current situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the rising paranoia of Radical Extremism we need to look at this critical point of history to understand those who where concerned with these same issues 100 years ago.

In a post-9/11 world that is rampant with paranoia and cultural misconceptions it is now more important than ever to embrace those elements which unite us as people rather than to focus on the differences which divide us. The greatest problems of the 21st Century have little to do with radical extremism and everything to do with our perceptions of ourselves and each other. The message of Iqbal is a strikingly contemporary one which encourages us to overcome our suspicions and doubts. Ahead of his time, he understood Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a vehicle to bridge the differences between Religion and Science. Iqbal will go down in history as a Revolutionary Thinker who spoke for the freedom and dignity of all people.

The basis of Iqbal’s message is clearly represented in his 1938 New Years Address shortly before his death:

“Only one unity is dependable and that unity is the brotherhood of man, which is above race, nationality, color or language. So long as this so-called democracy, this accursed Nationalism, and this degraded imperialism are not shattered, so long as men do not demonstrate by their actions that they believe that the whole world is the family of God, so long as distinctions of race, color and geographical nationalities are not wiped out completely, they will never be able to lead a happy and contented life and the beautiful ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity will never materialize.” – Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Muslim Fest 2010 screening “A Message from the East” this Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Message from the East SCREENING AT MuslimFest 2010 this Saturday, July 31st 2010 click below to see the full schedule of days activities! A Message from the East starts at 2PM Sharp!

Address: The Living Arts Centre
4141 Living Arts Drive Mississauga,
ONTARIO CANADA!
2PM Sharp!

For more information click here: http://www.muslimfest.com/web/AdultPG.aspx

Inner-City Muslim Action Network presents the Salaam Film Festival on June 13-15th, 2010

“A MESSAGE FROM THE EAST” SCREEN TIME / DAY / LOCATION is:

TUESDAY, JUNE 15th
Assembly Hall at International House, University of Chicago
1414 E 59th St Chicago IL 60637

June 13-15th, 2010 | Chicago

Inner-City Muslim Action Network presents the Salaam Film Festival on June 13-15th, 2010 in Chicago. This festival provides the unique opportunity to explore the intricacies and complexities of Muslim communities while promoting a culture of appreciation through feature-length films, documentaries, and short programs. The festival celebrates the rich talents of Muslims across genres.

This event is part of the week long Streets 2010: Urban International Festival that ends on June 19th with Takin’ It to the Streets in Marquette Park, Chicago. Streets 2010 is anticipated to attract over 20,000 attendees.

One Chicago, One Nation Film Contest

IMAN will screen shorts from the One Chicago, One Nation Online Film Contest winners. The films are based in or about Chicago and demonstrate people of different backgrounds working together for the common good.

Masada

Another Short for your viewing pleasure. This time, featuring Masada.

Bethlehem’s Wall – A Short by Jeremiah Hammerling of Endless Eye Productions

Bethlehem’s Wall – A Short by Jeremiah Hammerling of Endless Eye Productions

Azan

An Edit we put together while cutting our feature Doc “A Message from the East” (www.messagefromtheeast.com). – This project took Endless Eye (www.endlesseye.org) to Germany, Dubai, Canada, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, & Pakistan to discover how a poet changed the destiny of a nation. Muhammad Iqal is the man and we are so proud of the experience and the Doc!!!

Love Has Spoken by Soul Singer Khari Lemuel

Video Directed and Produced by Sean Fahey of Endless Eye Productions

VIEW MUSIC VIDEO ON LINKTV: http://www.linktv.org/onechicago/films/view/677

Over 12.1 million people in the US, from diverse backgrounds, suffer from alcoholism. One important step in the healing process is forgiveness. In the music video Love Has Spoken, performed by Chicago Soul Singer Khari Lemuel, a group of diverse people at an AA meeting work to overcome their issues and learn to grow in love. We hope Khari’s powerful words help people heal what ever may be “holding them back” from their true potential as vibrant human beings.

Takin it to the Streets 2010 – FREE CHICAGO! 100 Artists, 4 Stages, 1 Day!

What: Takin’ It to the Streets: Urban International Festival

When: June 19th, 2010

Time: 9am-9pm
Location: Marquette Park, Chicago, IL
Price: FREE*

*donations strongly suggested

20,000 people. 200 vendors.

100 artists. 4 stages.

1 day.

Takin’ It to the Streets is a Muslim-led festival where artistic expression, spirituality and urban creativity inspire social change.

Takin’ It to the Streets bridges today’s cultural divides by connecting diverse racial, ethnic, and religious communities through a dynamic festival. The festival will enrich cross-cultural community building not only in Chicago, but around the world.

Featured Artists:

  • Mos Def – Grammy Winner
  • Brother Ali – Minnesota, USA
  • Tinarwein – Mali
  • Chabab al Andalous – Morocco
  • Monajat Yultchieva – Uzbekistan
  • Outlandish – Denmark
  • And many more!

Four Stages:

  • Unity Stage: Reflects this unifying principle and showcases the diverse musical talents of contemporary artists
  • Hip Hop Pavilion: Bringing together the elements of MCing, DJing, Breakin’, and graff art, with skateboarding and workshops
  • World Music Stage: Blending global expression of traditional art forms through international artists
  • Streets Stage: The festival’s signature stage bringing together dynamic performers and inspiring speakers

Activities:

  • Faith & Justice: Speakers, panel discussion, and dialogue on a variety of issues relating to spirituality & social change
  • International Bazaar: Cultural artifacts, multi-ethnic cuisine, community organizations and more!
  • Health & Wellness Fair: Free health screenings, information on healthy living and refreshments 
  • Sports Arena: 3-on-3 Basketball tournament open to all
  • Family Zone: Rides, interactive games, children’s activities, and family-friendly performances
  • Prayer Center: A quite space open all day for meditation, reflection and prayer

Additional Streets 2010 Events

Since its inception in 1997 as a single-day event, Takin’ It to the Streets has steadily grown in attendance and impact, and in 2010 it is preceded by a full week of events that embrace a new Muslim cultural renaissance.

Salaam Film Festival June 13-15: Location TBA

A three-day festival highlighting the power of film as a tool for peace and social change. The festival will also screen films from the One Chicago, One Nation online film contest.

Melodies from Morocco June 16: Old Town School of Folk Music

The festival continues with a performance by the renowned Orchestre Chabab Al Andalous from Morocco

Dandana: A Celebration of Muslim Voices June 17: Millennium Park

World Music artists Tinariwen from Mali and Monajat Yultchieva from Uzbekistan will perform at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

About the Producer

Takin’ it to the Streets is produced by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a globally recognized leader that aims to change, serve and inspire by working on social justice issues, delivering a wide range of direct services, and cultivating the arts in urban communities.

The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Learn more about IMAN: www.imancentral.org

Muslim Health Clinic Goes Beyond Muslim Identity – Chicago Public Radio Re-Post

Original Article on Chicago Public Radio HERE: http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=41835

There’s a growing number of Muslim-run free health clinics in the United States. And this includes at least two in Chicago. For the doctors, providing health services is not just about a Muslim identity or only helping Muslim patients. Yet the tenets of Islam do guide the physicians.

The Inner-City Muslim Action Network runs a free medical clinic two days a week out of its storefront space on West 63rd Street.

ambi: patient making an appointment with sore throat

Adiba Khan is in charge. She says the clinic is based on the Islamic principles of zakat.

KHAN: Zakat is we are obligated as Muslims to make some sort of contribution to mankind because it’s very easy to become a physician who takes care of daily, routine mundane things but you may not do things that are free…to selflessly give a part of yourself to a community. Not just your own immediate Muslim community but to give to a community that’s apart from your community.

The doctors volunteer their time and see about 30 patients a week. But the clinic isn’t just for Muslims. The IMAN clinic is in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood – a predominately black and Latino area. And that’s their clientele. Just about 10 percent of the patients are Muslim.

Khan speaks a little Spanish as she takes a woman’s blood pressure.

ambi

Doctors do physicals, high blood pressure screenings. They also monitor of chronic diseases and treat minor ailments.

KHAN: This was considered a medical desert and a food desert. And it’s improved a lot. Medical desert in the sense that our patients who don’t have insurance and also may have low or zero income only have two choices. And that may be a pay-scale clinic or our free clinic.

The health clinic opened several years ago, and it serves a vulnerable population.

KHAN: And so with those two choices then also transportation barriers and also access to telephone are the two difficulties patients have in establishing continuity of care.

According to the American Muslim Health Professionals – a support organization – there are approximately 32 Muslim free health clinics in the U.S.

Two years ago the Michigan-based think tank Institute for Social Policy and Understanding put out a study about Muslim free clinics. It concluded that the recent rise in these clinics is an indication of the American Muslim community’s growing civic and public service role in the cultural mainstream. There’s a desire to give back to the community.

Of course, there’s some cultural sensitivity that a Muslim clinic can give to Muslim patients. But even Muslim patients find that principle of zakat important.

Judith Muhammad is in the IMAN clinic waiting room to pick up her test results.

MUHAMMAD: The fact that they are Muslims for me it just makes a difference because they’re giving back to the community. They’re doing work that we’re taught we’re supposed to do anyway, according to the Koran. And the fact that they’re more than just a clinic, serving the community with other things really excited me.

The other clinic in Chicago isn’t exactly a clinic. It’s called Compassionate Care Network and it’s a web of doctors who provide free health care to patients as an addition to their own practices.

Azher Quader is one of those doctors. For him, this network of doctors helps address the problem of lack of health care.

QUADER: That’s the model I think that is needed across the county where access to affordable health care is not limited to certain days or certain weekends but it is available 24 hours, seven days a week.

The study on the surge of Muslim clinics also noted that they follow the tradition of other religious groups like Catholics and Jews who build health institutions.

Adiba Khan of IMAN says that sometimes patients mistake her as a nun because her head is covered. And with a chuckle, she says that’s fine with her.

Visit IMAN’s website here: http://www.imancentral.org/

A year later, Leopold’s Sudan doc comes home Screenings at Chicago Filmmakers and the Music Box

REELCHICAGO.com ARTICLE – Endless Eye featured

Early last April, Malachi Leopold of Left Brain/Right Brain Productions departed for the Sudan to shoot a short documentary about the reunion of Kuek Garang, one of 27,000 “lost” Sudanese boys, and his parents.

Now, one year later, Leopold’s “22 Years From Home” has its Chicago premiere April 23 at Chicago Filmmakers and another screening April 27 at the Music Box.

Garang fled the second Sudanese Civil War at age 6 for refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, settling in Chicago as a young man.

Garang is president of the Chicago Association of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

“The primary purpose of the film is to both raise awareness of the ongoing situation in Sudan and the Sister Schools initiative created to raise money for the education of more than 700 children in a Sudanese village,” says Leopold.

Three weeks after they first made contact, Leopold followed Garang’s return to Sudan last spring at age 28 to find his family and build the only school for his little village of Wernyol, with funds raised in the U.S.

Leopold’s film was funded by $10,000 from USA for UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees).

Leopold was accompanied by a DP and two New York producers. They edited pro bono at MTV’s New York studios, as part of MTV’s on-going activist support for Sudan refugees.

Last August, “22 Years” premiered theatrically in a weeklong run at New York’s Village East Cinema. Leopold is in talks with PBS about a tentative June broadcast, and he’s planning a college tour. The DVD releases May 1 through Amazon.

Leopold is also developing the five-film series “The Question of Islam for the West,” including documentary and narrative projects about “Bosnian Anne Frank” Zlata Filipovic, a venture capital fund in Palestine, and two films set in Iran.

“I’m concerned with how Islam…has come to replace what Communism used to be for the West,” Leopold says.

“I have five family members deployed in the military campaign of the ‘War on Terror’—in Afghanistan, Somalia, and the Middle East. So I ask myself, ‘What can I do?’ The answer is these five films, all paired with social action campaigns.”

“22 Years From Home” premieres April 23 at 8 p.m. at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark St. and screens with Seattle filmmaker Jen Marlowe’s Sudan documentary “Rebuilding Hope.”

Kuek Aleu Garang and Wheaton resident Garang Mayuol, subject of “Rebuilding Hope,” will attend.

Also: Screening April 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport Ave. Post-screening panel discussion with Garang and Leopold.

Leopold’s phone is 773/935-2434. See LBRBProductions.com.

Another local production company, Endless Eye Productions, is also working on a slate of mission-driven films with similar interests in Sudan and Islam.

Their in-progress “Library Project” is a multimedia documentation, in collaboration with Sudanese villagers, of Endless Eye’s three-year effort with Lost Boy Machien Luoi’s North Dakota nonprofit PACODES, to build a library designed by Chicago architect Usma Mirza in Southern Sudan, planned to open in 2011.

“Everyone in the village and the surrounding villages are tired of depending on foreign [non-governmental organizations] that create such a dependency,” producer Sean Fahey says. “All they do is put a band-aid over a problem rather than treating and curing the disease.”

In March, Endless Eye completed production on the feature documentary “A Message From the East,” about Pakistani national poet Muhammad Iqbal, a key figure in the founding of Pakistan. Endless Eye is also conducting a media literacy program at the Inner City Muslim Action Network in Marquette Park.

See —Ed M. Koziarski