08/02/2012 03:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Holy Ramadan, Batman! Should A Muslim Nerd Abstain From The Dark Knight Rises?

By: Nishat Kurwa

When the holy month of Ramadan rolled around this year, writer and comic Aman Ali had a problem.

Ramadan requires Muslims to focus inward, and strip away material and other temptations from their lives to focus on prayer and religion.

Ali, the co-creator of the 30 Mosques in 30 Days project, made this video about the conundrum he faced as a faithful Muslim who's also a Dark Knight fan.  "There's a genuine dilemma," he said, "with the Dark Knight coming out during Ramadan, and for Muslim nerds, this is an issue."

Addressing his imagined orthodox Muslim interlocuters, he said, "You're saying I should be worshipping, praying, but am I a bad person for going and seeing the movie during Ramadan?" The video documents Ali's quest to answer this dilemma, talking to an imam who's a fellow nerd and his own parents as part of his soul-searching.

Ali said he doesn't feel obligated to educate non-Muslims about Islam, and that rather, his work comes from a desire to tell stories that evoke his overlapping identities as a Muslim South Asian American. "Am I a Muslim artist, or am I an artist that happens to be Muslim? I can be Muslim and I can talk about cereal. There's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't have to be overly dogmatic, religious, talking about XYZ over and over again."

The Dark Knight video was directed Musa Syeed of Valley of the Saints, and with its mixture of filial piety, pathos and self-deprecation, feels as though it achieves Ali's goal of addressing "universal audiences" and not just the nerds and Muslims who feel his pain.

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