documentary in development
research partly paid by MEDIA (Brussels)

Assumed Hatred
Western assumptions about Arabs and Muslims unveiled

Length: 52 minutes
Director: Mark Aardenburg
Production: MovieTron

It is nine o’clock in the morning and already pretty hot in the Moroccan countryside. Dar Chaffai is a dusty village in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by endless rocky ground. Next to the village are the school grounds. In the middle of a walled courtyard the pupils, from 6 to 12 years old, gather in front of the flagpole where a ravaged flag hangs. Sanaa, one of the teachers, stands in front of them. She is quite short, without a veil, her dark hair blowing in the wind. She gives a sign and everybody starts singing the national anthem.

I have seen a considerable change in the way people react to Muslims in my immediate surroundings lately. Triggered by 9/11, the terrorist attacks in London, Casablanca and Madrid and the ongoing US-led war on terrorism, there seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding between the West and the Islamic world. More and more Western people are afraid of Muslims. But is it right that ‘we’ are afraid of ‘them’? Is this not based on assumptions that are taken out of context?
 
The aim of this 52-minute documentary is to take away part of the prejudices that the West has concerning the Islamic world. Shot in Morocco, we will investigate the most common assumptions Western people have about Muslims. The assumptions will be taken from newspaper headlines or items from European television programmes. Teachers in the countryside and a group of friends in Moroccan coffeehouses will tell us what they think about them. These moments will not consist of static interviews, but will be discussions, set in the daily life of the people involved.

Sanaa is one of the main characters of the film. She has a very outspoken opinion on the assumptions that exist in the West. About the Western wish to implement democracy all over the world she says: “If you lock up a child for month and then suddenly set him free, it will be a disaster; It is the same with illiteracy and democracy. Democracy cannot be implemented from one day to the other. I did not vote in the last elections, it is of no use.”

2006 MovieTron
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