'The Light in Her Eyes' Premieres Thursday (7/19) on PBS

Film Highlights al-Habash's Struggle to Teach Quran to Syrian Girls

July 11, 2012

On Thursday, July 19, the touching documentary, “The Light in Her Eyes,” will have its national broadcast premiere at 10 p.m. EST on PBS. “The Light in Her Eyes” follows Houda al-Habash, a Muslim Syrian woman who, at the age of 17, goes against tradition and opens a Quran school for girls in a downtown mosque.

“This wonderful documentary will be surprising for many,” said Kamran Pasha in a Huffington Post article, “Inside a Syrian Quran School for Women: The Spiritual Roots of a Revolution.”

Filmed on the eve of Syria’s Arab Spring protests, “The Light in Her Eyes” is a look at a popular movement that claims space for women in the mosque and calls for greater freedom for Muslim women. It is also a fascinating picture of modern Muslim society in the midst of a dramatic social transition. Al-Habash embodies these contradictions with remarkable ease.

“The Light in Her Eyes” is a fascinating portrait of an unconventional Muslim woman. Al-Habash represents the new face of women’s leadership in Islam. Women like her are an indication that, if and when political freedom comes to places like Syria; the local definition of freedom will likely differ dramatically from its definition in the West.

“Inside this community, we uncovered a lively debate about women’s roles as mothers, teachers, wives, workers, sisters and daughters,” said directors Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix. “The act of women teaching each other about Islam is a key element of the religious revival taking place in the Middle East, and understanding that is crucial to understanding how the region is changing, especially through the Arab Spring. We hope audiences will welcome a view of contemporary Syria that is not solely defined by headlines and YouTube videos of the recent chaos and violence. While the uprising dominates Syria’s present moment, it is only one story of Syria’s people and its rich history.”

Make sure to catch the screening next week on PBS.

-- Marium Mohiuddin
Communications Coordinator



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