Islam Unknown (DVD)


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Islam Unknown is a collection of eight conversations with unconventional Muslim intellectuals. In each episode, eclectic Dutch philosopher Fons Elders engages the thinkers in probing discussion on topics including gender, economics, sharia, secularism, colonialism, and the nature of religious authority. What emerges is a nuanced and illuminating series of contemporary perspectives on one of the world’s great religions.

The discussions take place in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, many of them filmed at the Huize Piranesi, a 19th-century Dutch farmhouse that has welcomed thinkers for decades. Each episode also includes beautiful footage of Islamic art and Muslims going about their daily lives and prayers.

Elders’ hope is that the conversations will contribute to a new understanding of the diversity of Islam, and to a decrease in Islamophobia among Americans and Europeans – a much-needed corrective to popular Western perceptions of Muslims.

“In the aftermath of the Paris attacks in November 2015, everyone in the West seems to have an opinion about Islam, but few appear to have any actual knowledge…with little or no awareness of the diversity, and indeed the modernity and in some cases even the liberalism, of the religion. These shortcomings and failures of policy and imagination make Islam Unknown a particularly timely work.” -Jack David Eller in Anthropology Review Database (November 23rd, 2015) Click here to read the full review.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “[Elders’s] approach with each subject is genuine, reverent, and introspective…It is certain that anyone fortunate enough to view this film will benefit from its broad insights, opinions, and shared knowledge.” —Library Journal

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “There is a remarkable depth and breadth to each of the eight conversations. Elders is a skillful interviewer, posing thoughtful questions and then getting out of the way of his guest’s response. An excellent classroom resource, appropriate especially to academic libraries supporting religious and Middle Eastern studies, ISLAM UNKNOWN is a strong choice for public libraries as well.” —Educational Media Reviews Online

Disc One

  • Asma Barlas — God is Uncreated, God is Without Sex and Gender
  • Nasr Hamed Abu Zayd — Truth With a Capital T: the Most Dangerous Concept
  • Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im — Everything I Do A Quest for Meaning
  • Amna Nusayr — I Became Another Woman

Disc Two

  • Reza Aslan — A Cosmic War is a Religious War
  • Anouar Majid — We Are All Minorities
  • Ömer Özsoy — Also the Qur’an Is the Work of its Time
  • Mehmet Asutay — Justice: The Essence of Any Moral Economy