By Aalia Khan
With high expectations I went to the screening of American Sharia in Bradford, organised by Penny Appeal. In a lovely venue the Abundant Life Centre, the atmosphere was buzzing and everyone was clearly excited to watch this ‘halal comedy’.
The event started off with some stand up comedy by comedian Preacher Moss and actor/director Omar Regan which had the crowd in stitches. This was followed by pledges to raise money for orphans.
Once completed the movie finally began and everyone seemed to be excited for the outcome; as such, from the second it began the cheesy comedy and stiff acting paved the way for this movie to be a much hyped let down.
Regan’s acting in the film was rather good as he was a natural performer and his personality shone through. However the others didn’t do themselves justice; many of them being YouTube phenomenon’s such as Baba Ali, Yaz the Spaz and True Story ASA had let themselves and their YouTube fan base down.
The message that was being portrayed, that being a Muslim doesn’t make you an extremist or terrorist, teaching viewers about the meanings of Islamic phrases and a touch upon the history of black slavery was conveyed, but in a slightly awkward manner as each scene felt like it was being forcefully explained to the audience or even a child.
Unfortunately and disappointedly I would have to rate American Sharia */***** as the acting was not fantastic, the script was rather poor and the cinematography wasn’t impressive.
On the other hand it was a good effort in trying to shed light on some of the misunderstandings surrounding Islam. And I would give credit to Regan’s production company Halalywood in attempting to break the stereotypes of Muslims around the world and creating pieces to break barriers, all in a comedic manner.
Overall the event seemed to be a crowd pleaser solely down to Omar Regan and Preacher Moss’ comedy acts.