Layla’s inspiration for creating her upcoming film was pure interest.
“I was fascinated by the idea that African Americans who were the descendants of slaves [and] allowed nothing but the slavery-bonded dogma of Christianity, were converting to fundamental Islam and raising their kids culturally un-American, in the middle of American cities,” Layla said. “At 18, this thought blew my mind, and it became, then, a story I planned to uncover.”
Though she began filming in spring 2010, she had the concept for the film for several years and hopes it will interest and inform people.
“[I hope it will] have some influence on ending oppression against girls … Worldwide, girls are kept out of school, forced into sexual servitude, are made slaves to their husbands, etc.,” says Layla.
To see a kickstarter video of the film or to fund, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laylasola/black-from-islam-african-american-women-muslim-def?ref=live.
More from that site:
Jalila – an attorney and dancer, grew up in the militant community, the Nation of Islam, in Oakland in the 1970’s during the heat of Black Nationalism. Her sense of gendered inequality and oppression was so strong, that at 13, she ran away, preferring to live in the projects with drug addicts than the NOI.
Vanessa – grew up in the al-fuqura sect of Islam, imported by Pakistani Muslims in the 1940’s who recruited African Americans. The sect, today has only approx. 5,000 members, and continue to live, as Vanessa did, on a compounds of trailers off well beaten roads. Vanessa never went to formal schools. Upon graduation, she was married to a man ten years older and sent to live in the city. Naive and sheltered, her first taste of freedom was like a drug. She became addicted, living two lives. She became promiscuous, depressed, and made a violent break from her husband to figure out life in America on her own.
Cindy – raised in the al-fuqera sect in Detroit. In the 1980’s, the group came under FBI pressure and the entire community fled the state. Her clan relocated in New Orleans, but her polygamist home-life, inability to attend school, and sexual abuse, was too much for to bear and she sought an escape. Yet, she struggled, becoming a BBW porn actress before obtaining her advanced education.
As Atlas notes in her piece, “al-fuqura” is the militant Islamic group that has multiple Islamic enclaves and training compounds throughout the U.S. (posts and videos here).