Al Azhar Produces a Short Film Aiming to Combat Social Stigma Around Sexual Harassment

By Nour El Miligi

We’ve all been following the huge anti-harassment movement that has taken social media by storm lately. The movement has been so strong, to the extent that celebrities have begun to speak up about their own experiences with harassment, and the mainstream media has been widely covering the incidents and authorities taking legal actions, from arresting accused parties to amending current laws. Apparently, the massive amount of spotlight and effort going into combating this phenomenon that has been present in our countries since the dawn of time, aren’t about to stop anytime soon.

Egypt’s Al Azhar Voice produced its very first short feature film tackling the social issue of sexual harassment through a dramatic context. It’s not just the first time for an Azhar-associated entity to produce a feature story but also for an Azhar Sheikh to star in one. The newspaper “Al Azhar Voice” has recently published a teaser of its short movie for the audience to watch.

The main character in the short movie, “Fair Witness”, is played by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Maliki, the forensic scholar at Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, with the participation of media professionals, Moataz Al-Demerdash and Jaber Al-Qarmouti as honorary guests, alongside a couple of young actors. The script and dialogue were prepared by the editor-in-chief of Al-Azhar Voice, Ahmed Al-Sawy, and directed by Mahmoud Al-Iraqi. The short film aims at addressing social issues from a religious scope, clarifying where the Islamic institution stands as well as correcting religious misconceptions.

The short tale revolves around a religious figure who’s supposed to be testifying at the prosecutor’s office. Throughout the time lapse between the main character waiting until he actually testifies, he meets several characters embodying and resembling societal issues. Thorny issues were reflected in the feature including corruption, bribery, harassment, polygamy, and perjury.

The film was produced and worked on starting January 2020, and is expected to be released soon. Journalist Ahmed Al-Sawy said that Al-Azhar does not have any negative attitude towards purposeful art that aims at raising awareness, addressing and fixing drastic problems in the society.

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