Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Inspirational film about the struggles of a Sydney independent school …

The Howard government prides itself on its commitment to educational choice for parents. It is been a long-standing Liberal policy to support the establishment of independent schools, including religious-based schools.

But often such schools are faced with a barrage of pressures from media and the broader community. One such school is Noor al-Houda Islamic College, one of Sydney’s most respected independent Islamic schools. The school was founded by Silma Ihram, an Anglo-Australian woman and a pioneer of Islamic independent school education in Australia.

Last year, I managed to see a superb production entitled Silma’s School. This documentary profiled the struggles of Silma Ihram in taking on the Federal Airports Corporation for the survival of the College established initially on the Bankstown Airport site in Condell Park.

That screening took place at the Sydney Film Festival to a packed audience, many of whom were visibly moved and some in tears. The movie received a standing ovation, as did Silma Ihram who came on stage at the conclusion of the production.

The film was also shown in London where its screenings were consistently sold out. The film was reviewed in one English publication as a touchstone for some of the big domestic and international issues of our times. It was also a finalist at the New York Festivals’ International Television Award in the Community Portraits category.

The film has been described as “a moving, suspenseful and sometimes funny story provides a microcosm for many of the issues facing young Muslims growing up in the West - without the political rhetoric, stereotypes and firebrand mullahs which have characterised so much recent media scrutiny”.

The makers of that movie, Firefly Productions Pty Limited, will be holding a special screening of the movie at the NSW Parliament House Theatrette on Wednesday 9 August 2006. The screening commences at 2pm.

The screening is held in conjunction with SAVE Australia Inc, a Sydney-based charity. Following the screening will be a number of speakers including the film director, Jane Jeffes and journalist Tagred Chandab.

Seats are limited, and this is a film not to be missed. Future screenings are also planned for September, so watch this space for details.

For further details, please call the representative of SAVE Australia Inc on 0422 085 222.

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

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