Myriam Francois-Cerrah…from Hollywood to Makkah

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

The opening of Al Fatiha, with its address to the whole of mankind, psychologically stopped me in my tracks. It spoke of previous scriptures in a way which I both recognized, but also differed. It clarified many of the doubts I had about Christianity. It made me an adult as I suddenly realized that my destiny and my actions had consequences for which I alone would now be held responsible.

This is a short story about Myriam Francois-Cerrah, previously known as Emilie Francois (born in 1983), began her screen career at age 12 in Ang Lee‘s Sense and Sensibility (1995) in which she played Margaret Dashwood alongside Emma Thompsonand Kate Winslet. She went on to star in Paws (1997) alongside Nathan Cavaleri and Heath Ledger, and New Year’s Day (2000). [Admittedly, i have yet to watch any of her movies]

Francois-Cerrah,  British actress of French and Irish heritage, who reverted to Islam in 2003. I was introduced to her by a WardinaSaffiya (i shall write about her, soon enough) a couple of months back.

Myriam currently works as a freelance journalist, with her articles featured in “The Huffington Post“, “New Statesman“, The London PaperIndex on Censorshipthe F-Word, the magazine Emel,. Myriam has an MA with honours in Middle East politics from Georgetown University, and a BA from Cambridge University in Social and Political science, and is due to complete her PhD at Oxford University in Oriental Studies in 2012.

The Qur’an was pivotal for me. I first tried to approach it in anger, as part of an attempt to prove my Muslim friend wrong. Later I began reading it with a more open mind.

The opening of Al Fatiha, with its address to the whole of mankind, psychologically stopped me in my tracks. It spoke of previous scriptures in a way which I both recognized, but also differed. It clarified many of the doubts I had about Christianity. It made me an adult as I suddenly realized that my destiny and my actions had consequences for which I alone would now be held responsible.

In a world governed by relativism, it outlined objective moral truths and the foundation of morality. As someone who’d always had a keen interest in philosophy, the Qur’an felt like the culmination of all of this philosophical cogitation. It combined Kant, Hume, Sartre and Aristotle. It somehow managed to address and answer the deep philosophical questions posed over centuries of human existence and answer its most fundamental one, ‘why are we here?’

In the Prophet Muhammad, I recognized a man who was tasked with a momentous mission, like his predecessors, Moses, Jesus and Abraham. I had to pick apart much of the Orientalist libel surrounding him in order to obtain accurate information, since the historical relativism which people apply to some degree when studying other historical figures, is often completely absent, in what is a clear attempt to disparage his person.” 

[Excerpts from British Actress Inspired by Prophet’s Life]

More links on her:

Her blog http://myriamfrancoiscerrah.wordpress.com/

Writes at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/myriam-francois

http://www.usislam.org/converts/myriam_francoiscerrah.htm

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