Mooz-lum: A Powerful, Riveting Drama about Muslims in America

Evan Ross as Tariq in MOOZ-lum

In MOOZ-lum, writer/director Qasim “Q” Basir makes his feature film debut with a story about a Muslim-American named Tariq entering college. Tariq sees college as a place to reinvent himself as “T” after living a strict religious household with his father. He pushes him mom and sister away and stays distant from his Muslim roommate to ensure that a few lingering, unpleasant (to put it mildly) memories from a previous life at a madrasa do not surface. Yet with the onset of 9/11, Tariq has to figure out who he is and what he’s willing to stand up for.

MOOZ-lum truly is an amazing film. This movie could have easily been a preachy, heart-warming film about how good Muslims are but instead, Mr. Basir created a film that humanizes Muslims without it becoming an after school special on tolerance. Tariq’s crisis in faith is not an occurrence isolated to Muslims and therefore this isn’t a movie just for Muslims. I encourage everyone, despite which religion one belongs to (or doesn’t belong to), to watch MOOZ-lum because it’s an entertaining movie regardless, with a well told story and interesting characters. Even though there’s nary a car chase scene in sight, you will be on the edge of your seat at some moments in this movie. Don’t roll your eyes at that cliched statement – during one particular tense scene, I noticed that the girl sitting a few seats away from me was quite literally sitting at the edge of her seat, leaning forward, enthralled. It’s been a long time since something like that happened in the movies (maybe during Inception, I’ll grant you that;).

Many people have been clamoring for these narratives in the United States, with even Katie Couric suggesting that a Muslim version of “The Cosby Show” may help with the image of Muslims in America. Qasim Basir succeeds in adding to the Muslim-American narrative with MOOZ-lum, a great movie that can be appreciated by anyone.

MOOZ-lum opened in select cities on February 11th. It’s produced by Peace Films and stars Evan Ross, Nia Long, Roger Guenveur Smith, Summer Bishil, and Dorian Missick.

                                                                Bushra Burney

Bushra is content editor and blogger for