Khuda Ke Liye (meaning "In the Name of God") (2007)
Director: Shoaib Mansoor.
Starring: Shaan (Mansoor), Fawad Khan (Sarmad), Iman Ali (Mary / Maryam), Alex Edwards (Dave), Rasheed Naz (Moulana Tahiri), Angela Williams, Larry Newman, Humayun Kazmi, Naeem Tahir, Najeeb Ullah Anjum.
a Pakistani student in the USA gets arrested following 9/11 hysteria
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire movie.
Chicago, Autumn 2002. The Mental Rehabilitation Facility. He's being deported. The doctors don't think he will recover anytime soon.
Lahore, Pakistan. December 2000. The New Year's Eve Rehearsal of a Concert. All of a sudden Islamic fundamentalists attack the concert set, smashing lights and screens.
London. A Pakistani-British girl and a British white man are in love. So an Islamic fundamentalist with the last name of Sheikh comes into a restaurant to scold her father, Hussain Khan He starts shouting his puritanical views saying that because of Mr. Khan the Pakistanis are being ruined and he should be ashamed of himself. He is mad because Mr. Khan's daughter is going out with a British white man. He says Khan is tarnishing the Islamic religion. The restaurant owner threatens to call the police if the man does not leave. The religious bigot leaves.
Hussain goes to look for his daughter Mary. He finds her with her head on the lap of the British fellow. The young guy offers to shake hands, but the father refuses. So he says goodbye to Mary and leaves. Dad asks who was that guy? That's Dave. He's just a classmate, she says. The funny thing is that Hussain is living with a British white woman.
At home Hussain tells his live-in partner, Mary's "step-mother", that he wants her to tell Mary not to see that boy anymore. But the "step-mother" says Dave is a wonderful boy. Dad gets angry because she already knows and he didn't know. Mom says that Mary is British and mom refuses to tell Mary anything on this subject. The problem is that there is a double-standard for men and women in Pakistan. It is okay for a Muslim man to marry a white woman, but not for a Muslim girl to marry a white man. This will make dad the laughing stock of the Pakistani community. Mary has been sadly listening to the entire conversation while sitting on the steps.
The Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore. A Islamic holy man named Maulana is being interviewed. He says that he is grateful that America and the CIA have reminded him of Jihad. Mujahideen from all over the world are flocking to Afghanistan. When Jews with American backing kill Muslims, all Muslims are reminded of Jihad. The reporter asks who pays for all his activities. He used to get 10 lakhs and the latest weaponry to kill Russians. The CIA used to call people like him Mujahideen, but now they call them terrorists. The reporter asks if drug money is paying for his activities? He says the Taliban are destroying the poppy fields.
After the interview, Maulana is introduced to Sarmad who lives in Lahore. The young man is a big singer on TV. And he wanted to meet Maulana. Maulana tells him that next Friday he will be at Shahi mosque and invites him to come. Sarmad says he will come.
Sarmad and his brother are interviewed and appear on television. They say their orthodox grandmother does not like their music. But their parents love their music. Hussain watches the program and tells Mary he wants her to see this on television. He shows Mary her cousins on the television, but he doesn't know their names. Sarmad goes to the mosque to talk with Maulana, who tells him that the Prophet Mohammed did not like such a useless thing as music. When he comes back he speaks with his brother and says there must be some good reason for Maulana to be displeased with music. His brother tells him to forget it: "He is against all those things which can make people happy!" According to Maulana, it is not even permitted to laugh openly.
Sarmad goes for a run and a walk thinking about what Maulana told him. So he soon tells his brother that he is not going to play in the music concert. He says it's not allowed in Islam. His brother is angry at Sarmad. He tries to reason with him but doesn't do a very good job. He appeals to his father, but dad defends Sarmad. Sarmad goes back to Maulana who tells him that music ruins countless people who hear it. But Sarmad says his brother keeps confusing him. So Maulana asks Sarmad to stay with him.
Dad comes in to tell Mary that he will give his consent for her to marry Dave. She thanks her father and tells him that this is the first time that she feels that he really cares for her. And all this time she has been wishing and wishing her mother was here. Mary tells Dave the good news and tells him the bad news that she is going to Pakistan for ten days with her father. Dave is suspicious. Why now? Why so suddenly?
Sarmad's brother comes home to find all the pictures off the walls. Sarmad's doing. And, what's worse, he wants his mother to wear the veil. Brother is not happy. And what's worse is that now Sarmad is going on raids to deface western-style advertisements.
When Sarmad comes home he meets Mary and her dad. It is quite clear that Sarmad is very uncomfortable being with the very westernized Mary. As suspected dad tells Sarmad's parents that he lied to Mary and brought her to Pakistan under false pretenses. Dad wants Mary to marry Mansoor. Mary talks with Mansoor and tells him about Dave. So when dad talks to Mansoor, the more tolerant brother says that he can not be a party to such a crime. Dad's brother tells him that he is not really an Islamic Pakistani. Let's face it, dad is too westernized himself, but wants his western daughter to obey Muslim customs that are deemed out-dated and unfair in the west. The mixed-up dad has the nerve to say that even though "it is a crime," their family should have supported him. They were his last hope. So now dad says that Mary will stay in Pakistan with them or stay in the graveyard. (What a bastard!)
So now dad goes to Sarmad to ask him to marry Mary. Mulana likes the idea and says that Sarmad can save a non-sensible Muslim girl. He urges him to marry her. But Mulana knows that they cannot do this in Lahore because Sarmad's parents would prevent it. They will have to take Mary to Kabul. So they go into Afghanistan with Mary. Mary is introduced to a family of one of the Muslim men. Sher Shah, and one look at Mary and they say she is shameless and won't shake her hand. The women put Mary into a wedding dress. She asks them where is the bride that will be getting married? The women lie to her and say that she is getting ready.
Mualana starts the wedding ceremony. He asks Mary if she will agree to marry Sarmad? She asks her father what is this? Sarmad can't even look Mary in the eye. You lied to me. "I had to" says her darling daddy. She refuses, so dad slaps her. Daddy and Sarmad physically force her to marry. Mary bites her father's hand and it bleeds a little. (Hell, I would have tried to bite his hand off!)
Dad is leaving. But he hasn't meet everyone. But, the bastard says, the toilets are not good here. (They're good enough for Mary, but not good enough for him!)
Dad back home gets an earful from his live-in partner. She tells him he has ruined his daughter's life. She says if she had the strength, she would have called the police. He tells her to call the police. Nothing will happen to him.
In Afghanistan Mary has not eaten for two days and will not eat. Stupid Sarmad is actually surprised when she tells him that he can stick his food up his ass. She shouts for him to get out. Mary cries, but she does eat a little of the bread.
The School of Music, Chicago. Mansoor is a student here. Professor Lincoln is his teacher. At lunch he sits with a young, pretty blonde named Janie. Of course, she knows nothing of Pakistan and its history.
Mary walks barefoot around outside the hut and gets balled out because they say she is shaming them.
In class Monsoor plays for the other students. Soon they are playing their instruments along with him. Now Janie seeks Monsoor out saying that she liked his song. She asks him out for a drink. He won't have liquor but he will drink juice. And he demands to pay (as his Pakistani customs tell him to do)
Dave comes looking for Mary. He rings the doorbell. Dad tells her she is in Pakistan, happily married. She wouldn't do that to me, Dave says. Dave tells the bastard that he is not being straight with him, but the evil one says he has no more to say to him. The British woman tells Dave that it is unbelievable, but it is true. He demands to have her number. The traitor hypocrite says: "I will not allow you to hurt my child!"
Dave goes to lawyer and he says he has never heard of a girl coming back from such a situation. His only hope would be if there was evidence that she was being held against her will. A young wife plays with Mary as they grab hands and swing around in a circle. When the men return they stop immediately. Mary goes into the hut. Sarmad asks her what is she studying. She says she studies how to escape from here and escape she will. Then she tells the criminal: "I'll make you pay for what you have done."
In Lahore dad comes home and tells mom that Sarmad is in Afghanistan with Sher Shah. He may even be training to fight. Maybe he is even mixing with the Taliban?
Moonsor and Janie practice their music together. And they go on walks together.
One of the women and the girls sympathize with Mary. When she asks them what would they would do if they were her, they say they would escape. One of the elders with one foot sees Mary teaching the girls English. He scares the women and they run away frightened. But another man comes to her and asks her to teach him English. The women tell Mary to run away. Both of the men are gone and she won't get another chance in a long time.
The men return and find Mary gone. They grab an AK-47 and off they run after her. They almost catch up with her, but she starts to cross the river on a kind of hand pulled tram. Sher Shah actually considers killing her, but Sarmad doesn't want that. They scare off the tram rope puller and they pull Mary back to them. Mary is soon back home. She sobs. Sarmad wonders how long they can hold Mary by force? Sher Shah learns that Sarmad hasn't consummated the marriage and he becomes very angry. He tells Sarmad to come with him. Maulana is told and he makes fun of Sarmad saying he is not man enough. So Sarmad goes to rape his "wife".
September 11, 2001. 9/11. Collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City after terrorist piloted planes fly into the two structures. Mansoor watches the results on television. His parents call him to warn him to watch out for vengeful Americans. Mansoor's girlfriend gets a flyer on the street saying that the Muslims want to kill Americans, so do a Jihaad and kill the Muslims instead. She goes to Mansoor's apartment. Janie wants Mansoor to make a commitment to her, but he says that they come from two very different cultures.
Mary is pregnant.
Mansoor goes to Janie's apartment. He tells her to get dressed quickly. He got a call from his parents and they can get married now. Janie is very happy and she kisses him. They go down to City Hall and get hitched. Janie wears a traditional Pakistani outfit and then a wedding dress. They eat at a Pakistani restaurant. When they return home they are confronted by a Sikh who is mad at Mansoor because some people in Arizona killed his son thinking he was a Muslim. The Sikh calls Mansoor one of those terrorists.
Mansoor is taken at night forcefully by some law enforcement agency. He is handcuffed and then questioned. They ask him what is his position among the planners of Osama Bin Laden? He tries to tell them that he is not a terrorist, but they have already made up their minds. They just want him to confess and tell them all that he certainly knows. At home Janie sits quietly in the apartment as they go through all of their things looking for evidence of terrorism. Meanwhile, his interrogator finds a paper that has some writing and numbers on it. There is a cross-tabulation chart with numbers in the boxes and the brilliant interrogator circles a 9 and an 11, thinking he really has something incriminating here. Of course, there are lots of other numbers in the cross-tab, but he's not concerned about that. He calls his boss and says it looks like the guy they arrested is a big fish in the terrorist network. He asks for permission to go 115 on him. And without asking him the nature of the evidence against the man, his boss just gives him the okay.
Of course, the Americans, as they usually do, freak out in a crisis and start throwing people, many of them innocent, in jail. In World War II they threw the Japanese-Americans into "camps" in the desert. And 9/11 was no different. The interrogator proceeds with absolute conviction that the man in front of him is guilty. As he interrogates him, he gives the man the information that he wants from the man. That he is working with the terrorist network. He doesn't believe a word of what Mansoor is saying and constantly makes fun of his remarks. The agent says that the cross-tab is a grid map of New York City. The interrogator delivers his first slap and calls him a bastard.
Maulana now lives in a cave and preaches martyrdom in the service of Allah! Sarmad and Sher Shah are there too. Arab and Afghan warriors are coming to take them along with them. Mary still dreams of escape. But her friend tells her that Agha Jee has remained in the small village just too keep an eye on her. Mary gives her friend a letter to give to Agha Jee to send it, to her father, she says.
Nangarhar, Afghanistan. Sarmad is in the fight but he tells Sher Shah that he can't kill anyone. Sher Shah tells him he better fight. Sarmad gets into trouble. An enemy combatant tries to choke him to death Sarmad calls out for his friend, but he just watches the events seeing if Sarmad will finally fight. Seeing that no one will help him, Sarmad turns the tables on the man and chokes him to death. Then Sarmad just runs away.
The Americans use torture on Mansoor (even though Pres. Bush lied and said American doesn't torture). They stop up his toilet so it will smell like hell in his cell.
Dave gets the letter from Mary. He takes the letter to his lawyer. She is being kept in a small village called Zakakhair. The solicitor stresses that they must work in secret, or else Mary will be moved from her current address. The solicitor suggests that the father's live-in partner should be the one to go to Pakistan.
The Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore. Mary's "step-mother" explains to the authorities what is going on. They descend on Zakakhair.
Maulana explains to Sarmad that it's alright to kill Muslims if they work for the Northern Alliance. Killing them is as good as killing infidels. He tells Sarmad that he (Sarmad) has failed him and to get out of his sight. He and Sher Shah leave.
More torture and abuse for Monsoor.
The village elders of Zakakhair talk about the option of releasing Mary. A helicopter arrives in the village. It's Sarmad's father coming. Dad goes to Mary and he hugs her and she hugs him. Sarmad comes out to speak with his father. Dad tells him that he is taking Mariam (aka Mary) back. He leaves with Mariam. They get back in the helicopter and fly away.
Monsoor is told by a woman guard to take his clothes off. He complies.
Mary is with her "step mother" in the Peral Continental Hotel. She gets a call from Dave. She is happy to hear from Dave, but she is staying to take her cousin Sarmad to court.
Zarmad is behind bars. Sher Shah comes to visit him. He says they will bail him out in awhile and Maulana will defend him in court. He wants Sarmad to sign a document allowing the filing of a case for custody of the child. The Islamic fundamentalists say they can kill the child, but they can't let it go to Britain. There is no word from Mansoor.
Janie is out with others with signs saying free Mansoor.
The High Court Lahore. There are demonstrators chanting "We reject all cruel practices!" They shout "Stop the shameful activities under the cover of NGOs." Maulana is the first to testify. The man is accused of luring Sarmad into falsely marrying Mary. He admits it. The man shows how much of an idiot he really is. Many of the Islamic women shout out that his version of Islam is false or wrong. They shout: "Shame! Shame!" The non-fundamentalist Muslims are just as disgusted as most westerners are with fundamentalist Muslims.
Mary goes to speak with Maulana Wali. He refused to appear in court to make a statement. Wali says he doesn't want to get involved in these things. Mary tells him it is very easy to pray in a room. ItBut to speak the truth and suffer for it is very difficult. She says she will hold his collar up to God and tell God that this man had plenty of time for prayer but didn't spare a minute to support an innocent.
A guard torments Mansoor with religious bigotry just dripping from his American lips like a good redneck. Mansoor changes his "I love the USA" to "I love the USAMA" and the guard starts hitting him. Mansoor stops him and rips off his face mask so now he will have to smell the same stench that Mansoor has to smell. The coward acts like a baby and retreats from the foul stench.
In court Maulana Wali makes an appearance. He is asked if a Muslim woman is allowed to marry a non-Muslim man? He says it is allowed. He says in Mary's case right or wrong isn't involved. Mary is not a Muslim. She was born in a Christian country and raised by Christian women and her father would keep bringing in women who he would not marry. And now you blame her for being un-Islamic? Good God! The two to blame are the girl's father and the Maulana who presented an absolutely wrong picture of Islam. In Islam a woman has the right to chose who she will marry. And on the subject of music, Wali says that David of the Old Testament was given the gift of music by God. And the Prophet loved music. And as for correct attire, people get religion and culture mixed up. Attire is a matter of culture, not religion. How could a universal religion meant for everyone ask that everyone dress alike? Wise man.
Mary's father has come to see her, but she refuses to see him. He has to go without seeing her.
Mansoor goes through more harassment. The interrogator insults the people of Pakistan by calling its inhabitants Pakis.
In court Sarmad surrenders his claim to the child and withdraws his case. He says because of the cleric that influenced him, he did very many wrong things. He will always regret the wrong he did to Mary. He cries. A bunch of Muslims jump up and start beating the hell out of Sarmad. And in Chicago two Americans beat the hell out of Monsoor at the behest of the United States Government.
At the airport Mary decides not to go back to Britain. She is not the Mary that Dave once loved. She will write to him and explain. She leaves.
Janie cries over what the USA did to her husband. He is in the hospital and is being deported. The doctor says he won't recover any time soon. He appears brain damaged and doesn't even know Janie.
In Lahore, Pakistan Sarmad is in the hospital. His head is all bandaged.
Mary returns to the little village where she was kept hostage.
Sarmad goes back to playing music. Poor Mansoor is totally out of it.
Damn good movie. The fundamentalists of Islam are slammed brilliantly and the rednecks of America are also slammed. The film really made me mad at the start because of the terrible deeds done by the fundamentalist Muslims. And then I was mad at the terrible deeds done by the government of George W. Bush, a fundamentalist Christian, and his redneck administration. And I say to hell with both the Muslim fundamentalists and the Christian fundamentalists. A pox on both their houses. Muslim fundamentalists are terrible and very brutal, but they are also very poor. Christian fundamentalists are all too often racists and rednecks, but they do bad things without being very poor. Both groups give their respective religions a bad name. And violence is often done in the name of Christian fundamentalists because the right-wing extremist groups are usually from the evangelical religions. (But the US government never seems very concerned about right-wing violence against minorities and liberals I guess they like to pick their favorite groups of terrorists and let others slide. Bunch of hypocrites!)
Christian fundamentalists try to make all of Islam into fundamentalist Islam. It feeds their natural redneck paranoia. They just don't realize that they are committing religious bigotry, or maybe they just like religious bigotry. But bigotry causes huge social problems, including wars. The right-wing like to make-up their own version of lies about Islam. In the movie they have an Islamic cleric give a commons-sense defense of the basic goodness of the Islamic religion (just like the basic heart of the teachings of Jesus are good -- it's just a shame so few Christians respect the rather pacifist and loving nature of the messages of Jesus!)
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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