They Call Me Muslim
In popular Western imagination, a Muslim woman in a veil – or hijab – is a symbol of Islamic oppression. But what does it mean for women’s freedom when a democratic country forbids the wearing of the veil? In this provocative documentary, filmmaker Diana Ferrero portrays the struggle of two women – one in France and one in Iran – to express themselves freely.
In 2004, the French government instituted an "anti-veil law," forbidding Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to school. Samah, a teenager in Paris who, at 14 decided to wear the veil, explains how the law attacks her sense of identity – and does not make her feel liberated. “Who says that freedom is not wearing anything on your head?” she asks. Half a world away in Tehran, “K,” forced to wear the hijab by the Islamic regime, defiantly wears it her own way – and her translucent scarf loosely draped over her hair puts her at risk of arrest. When Ferrero films her at home, K, comfortable in a tank top and shorts, says, “They call me Muslim... But do you see me as a Muslim? What do you have in your mind for a Muslim person?” Beautifully shot and finely crafted, THEY CALL ME MUSLIM highlights how women still must struggle for the right to control their own bodies – not only under theocratic regimes, but also in secular, democratic countries where increasing discrimination against Muslims and sexism intersect.