23rd July 2002
The events of September 11th had a profound effect on everyone for many reasons but for a student from the University of Lincoln in Hull it triggered the start of research into a centuries-old taboo.
Sri Lankan born Zamruth Mohammed Omar Faiz (27) will graduate next week having completed a BA in TV and Film Design – media which the pure Islamic faith bans.
“Figurative imagery was banned during the time of the Prophet in the sixth century – the early stages of Islam,” said Zamruth, “but most Muslims are familiar with the moving image. However there still remains uncertainty over its religious legality and some censorship laws concerning the religion are sometimes imposed simply for political reasons.
“As a boy I listened to the adults talk about the prohibition of image,” said Zamruth, “and how you are committing a sin by owning a television.
“Over the years I’ve noticed that there were rarely any films or documentaries produced about Muslims or the Arabs and that images used on the news were mainly from old library footage.
“After the atrocious acts of September 11th I was left angry and frustrated that the a whole people were branded as terrorists simply because of sharing the same faith. This image was not helped by the false and totally unrelated footage of Muslims celebrating after the attacks.
“It made me wonder why there was no positive or accurate representation of Muslims on screen and so I began my research.”
Zamruth’s 40,000-word project entitled “The Blood of Ummah”, for which he has received the Faculty of Arts and Technology’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Theoretical Studies (Design), explores the views of Islam on the moving image and the situation of the film industries in the Islamic heartland of the Middle East.
It also looks at the historical and political events that have affected the cinematic industry and how they have contributed to the fall of Eastern productions.
“It is a very sensitive area with many issues,” said Zamruth, “for example, the pure Islamic faith does not allow Muslims to own any images or photos except on an ID card.
“Such strong religious and cultural beliefs affect film-making dramatically, limiting many areas including how women are covered and how they behave with other actors – it is all very complicated.”
Zamruth will be graduating at Hull City Hall on Tuesday 30th July at 11.30am.
For more information contact: Gill Noakes, Press Assistant, University of Lincoln
Tel: 01522 886042 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org