Infidel: According to Wikipedia,
Infidel (literally “one without faith”) is a chiefly archaic English noun, meaning one who doubts or rejects the central tenets of a religion other than one’s own or has no religious beliefs; especially in reference to Christianity or Islam.
Can you imagine that you thought you knew who you were; where you came from; and what you believed in, then one day what you thought, knew and believed is shattered. In the movie, The Infidel, that is what happened to Mahmoud, a Muslim who lived in the United Kingdom. He was not necessarily a perfect Muslim but he was comfortable with himself. He was a family man, married with a loving wife, son and daughter. His mother passes away and as he is going through documents in her home, he discovers that he had actually been adopted. A Muslim…adopted? Mahmoud becomes curious and begins an investigation on who were his birth parents that leads him on a journey he had never envisioned. His birth parents were Jewish.
As a result, Mahmoud is torn and has conflicting feelings and emotions. He begins to look into his life and probe himself. In some ways he becomes more Islamic going from wearing Western clothes to the shalwar of his native Pakistan. Yet, what about his Jewish side or rather the Jewish blood? Who were his family? Towards finding answers he starts to know a Jew in his neighborhood, a local taxi driver. Where prior there had been enmity, a wary friendship starts to form. Mahmoud begins to learn some of the traditions and expressions of the Jewish faith. He keeps his discoveries secret from his family and his wife begins to suspect Mahmoud is having an affair or thinking of taking another wife.
The story is portrayed as a comedy yet it does illustrate the mass confusion and upheaval of emotions in a search for identity. The language used in the film is atrocious and really not necessary nor adds to the story. Overall I found the Infidel interesting from an analytical standpoint. I think the producer did a fair job in tackling the sticky issues and perceptions of two faiths which have some similarities yet both sides tend to have strong resistance to the other.
While I am not personally aware of any such relationships, Muslim men are not prohibited from marrying Jewish women in Islam. However there are so many political differences and social perceptions from both sides, it is difficult to envision a marriage between a Saudi and someone of the Jewish faith. I should also add that it is also unusual to have adoptions in the Muslim world or at least within Saudi Arabia. An orphan may be taken in to a home or cared for but it is rare for a formal adoption to take place.
The Infidel gave me a lot to think about. It was a matter of birth and God’s hand that I happened to have born an American and in America. I was raised Christian (Catholic). I was not adopted and raised with a stronge sense of self-being and knowing who I am. What kind of reaction do you honestly think you would have if you discovered, like Mahmoud, that your heritage from your birth parents was the complete opposite of the life you were living? Would you try and learn more of your heritage that your birth parents had? Would you simply keep that door closed just like a closed chapter? Do you know of anyone who has experienced a similar situation?
Of course this post would not be complete without a clip from the movie itself:
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