Reflection – Group 1

Brian Nan, Shimat Alam, Jannatul Bashar, Balawal Chaudry


Documenting Communities Group Reflection

Our experience undertaking this project was educational. Each part of the project was a different experience which allowed us to bring together a documentary by a collective effort.

In the beginning stages of the project, we all had many ideas such as the Hunter college community, the Bronx community, and an orphan community. We all had ideas on which community we wanted to pick and we settled on the Muslim community because we found it would be the most convenient for us to do as most of our group is Muslim. We also thought we would be able to progress smoothly with our filming until the epidemic happened.

When COVID-19 struck New York City, we initially thought that we would be able to begin filming without issues at the time, there were not a lot of cases. Once the disease had entered New York, we all agreed that campus was likely to remain open and one of us had even taken two midterms before campus closed. When quarantine started, we all panicked as we had yet to begin filming but even though our professor generously offered to allow us to change communities, we decided to keep our community as we figured that we would still be able to continue. After reaffirming our desire to document the Muslim community, we got to work.

Our researcher, as well as most of the group members, are also a part of the Muslim community. As our researcher has a level of knowledge on the Muslim community, she is able to  provide our documentary with specific verses of religious scripture and moreover strengthen our source credibility as these Arabic verses are directly derived from the most significant primary source to this project; the Quran. Moreover, our researcher was able to provide our group’s documentary with critical primary sources based on personal, passionate beliefs as well as examples of violences perpetrated against this community from external internet sources. The research gathered moreover added onto the entirety of the project as a basis of informational reference that each and every group member was able to incorporate into their parts of the project as well as into their personal knowledge on Islam.

Our scriptwriter learned copious amounts of information from the researcher. Using the information gained, the scriptwriter was able to write an introduction for the video as well as write a basic script for the other group members to base their parts of the video on. Other members of the group assisted the scriptwriter by providing them their experiences. The script allowed for the next member of the group to start their portion of the project.

The cameraman was in charge of gathering raw footage for the project. The cameraman used the script to provide personal footage from our group members, as well as suggest changes to the script. Using the raw footage provided by the cameraman, the group was able to string together an introduction as well as some transitions. Although they were unable to film each group member as a result of the epidemic. Using the raw footage, the next group member was able to do their part.

The editor was in charge of stringing the many video files together as well as acquiring and adding in additional outside footage that would make the video a more finished product. The editor reached out to personal outside sources to get their take on Muslim violence and the effects it had on them. She provided video footage and acquired the necessary release forms needed. The editor was able to use video and sound editing computer programs to put the video together in a creative way. By using the research and group footage provided, adding the background of real-life stories as well as a soundtrack, she was able to create a dramatic and powerful effect with the video.

While undertaking this project, we heard many real-life stories about how violence impacts the Muslim community. It was astonishing to see the many people who have faced violence due to their religion. We learned about how the Quran interacts with and informs people in their daily lives about peaceful ways to deal with these violent situations. The Quran is used to guide prayer, worship, and traditions. According to some we interviewed, the Quran is also used as a guidepost during difficult times such as times where people experience violence.

We also learned how the genre of the Quran helped the Muslim community cope with violence. The Muslim community regards the Quran as a scripture which is a guidance reference which in turn allows them to follow its verses in a serious manner. The life guide aspect allows them to take lessons found in the Quran which guide them to healing from violence.

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