Nijla Mu’min: Film, Identity, and ‘Noor’

Nijla Mumin

Nijla Mu’min’s Film in Progress Noor: Bringing Multidimensional Characters into the Light

Interview by Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Nijla Mu’min is a writer and filmmaker from the East Bay Area who found her “natural destination” to be filmmaking while a student at UC Berkeley. Beginning as a filmmaker focused on documentary and interventionist stories, she has now taken on narrative fiction filmmaking with her film Noor which unfolds the nuanced relationship that develops between a Palestinian man who works at a bodega and a Black woman who frequents that bodega. Regardless of whether Mu’min is crafting documentary work, shorts or feature length narrative fiction, there is an intense devotion to as she says, “[explore] overlooked issues and communities of people as well as the humanity within them”.

In 2013, Mu’min completed a dual-degree graduate of Calarts’ MFA Film Directing and Writing programs; the only student in the institute to graduate with this distinction. Her previous work, particularly her short films has been well-received and screened at festivals across the country including Pan African Film Festival, Outfest, and Newfest at Lincoln Center. A recipient of the 2012 Princess Grace Foundation Cary Grant Film Award for her thesis film, Deluge, Mu’min has had the privilege of having a world premiere of this afrofuturist film centered on narratives of Black mermaids and environmental trauma at the 4th Annual New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival at BAMcinematek in Brooklyn. Recently selected as a Screenwriting Fellow for the 2nd Annual Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Intensive for her script, Noor نور and winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the 2014 Urbanworld Film Festival, she is working steadily to produce her feature film Noor.

I sat down with Mu’min to discuss her evolution of her filmmaking career and her upcoming feature film, Noor.

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Featured Artist: Katie Miranda

km01weblogo Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for loved ones? Check out our creative partnership with gifted artist, writer and jewelry designer Katie Miranda to celebrate American Muslim art and the upcoming publication of “Salaam, Love“. Katie is sharing her beautiful, handmade, silver “Love” pendant necklace, which makes a unique and precious gift for yourself or a loved one. All proceeds go directly to the artist. Please share with your networks & support American Muslim artists today! Order your necklace through Katie’s website, here. loveamethystbig3 Artist Bio: Katie Miranda synergizes art, activism, calligraphy and jewelry to promote joy, liberation and decolonization. She has a BFA in illustration and an MFA in graphic novels from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. While volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement from 2006-2009, Katie had the opportunity to study Arabic calligraphy in Ramallah, Palestine. In addition to making jewelry, she also works as a political cartoonist for Mondoweiss. See more of her work at:

What do you think of when you hear the words “Muslim Man?” How about “Love”?

Check out this awesome new book trailer for “Salaam, Love” created by Mohammed Shamma and set to music by Kareem Salama!

Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy from Mohammed Shamma on Vimeo.

Muslim VDay Cards!

Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for loved ones? We’re thrilled to announce a creative partnership with gifted artist Taz Ahmed to celebrate American Muslim art and the upcoming publication of “Salaam, Love“. Taz has created three, six-card sets of witty, political #MuslimVDay cards ready to mail and share with friends and family. The cards are limited editions, making them unique gifts for yourself or a loved one! All proceeds go to the artist.

Taz Ahmed by Les Talusan

Taz Ahmed by Les Talusan

Are you a Muslim who finds it difficult to find that perfectly snarky, witty Valentine’s Day card that conveys your exact emotions about love in the time of a racialized, Islamophobic America? This 18-card collection of #MuslimVDay, Valentine’s Day cards will solve your problem!

Series 2 First Half

Started in 2011 as a personal counterculture art project by Taz Ahmed, the six #MuslimVDay card images created every year since then have taken the Internet like storming drones. Muslims love. Muslims laugh. Muslim have snark. If these cards make you laugh, sometimes uncomfortably, then they’ve done their job.

Collect all three limited edition sets today!


#MuslimVDayCard is Ahmed’s lighthearted answer to Islamophobia, and the confining stereotypes that trail her as a Muslim woman. “I was thinking about Islamophobia and language around Muslims and love,” she said. “I was tired of Muslims being put into a box — and tired of being in the box of a non-sexual Muslim woman. This was my way of reappropriating Islamophobia.”

Series 1 First Half

The series is political humor at its best: cheeky, sharp, with clever puns and lightness of spirit that’s grounded in the reality of Muslim life in this post-9/11 era. Ahmed says that Muslims love the series and laugh openly at it, whereas many non-Muslims “feel bad about laughing at the jokes.”


This is a limited print run. You will receive a full series of six cards with each purchase. Collect all 18! The cards are printed on 4.25 x 5.5 postcard size cardstock and are ready to be mailed. Each card is full colored, numbered, signed & dated by the artist.

See all 18 cards and order your #MuslimVDay card set today from Taz’s Etsy shop!

Series 2 Second Half

Artist bio: Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles currently working as the Voter Engagement Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. She was a long-time writer for Sepia Mutiny, and was recently published in the anthology Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women and both zines from Totally Radical Muslims. Her personal projects include curating images for Mutinous Mind State and writing about Desi music at Mishthi Music where she just co-produced Beats for Bangladesh: A Benefit Album in Solidarity with the Garment Workers of Rana Plaza. Taz also organizes with Bay Area Solidarity Summer and South Asians for Justice – Los Angeles. You can find her rant at @tazzystar.

Featured Artist: Nadia Janjua

Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for loved ones? We’re thrilled to announce a creative partnership with gifted artist Nadia Janjua to celebrate American Muslim art and the upcoming publication of “Salaam, Love“. Nadia has crafted breathtaking, handmade, statement earrings in three colors and designs inspired by the title of the book. These are limited edition earrings, making them unique gifts for yourself or a loved one! All proceeds go to the artist.

Nadia J Art

Nadia Janjua, pictured wearing the red cube Salaam Love earrings

You may state your preference for the earring hook length when ordering these beautiful, hand-painted, lightweight earrings. To see more details and to order, you can follow the links to the Nadia J Art Esty shop, underneath each photo below.

05 red

Salaam, Love Cube earrings (Red)

03 circles
Salaam, Love Circular Earrings (Multi)

09 yellow

Salaam, Love Cube Earrings (Yellow)


Artist Bio:

Nadia Janjua is an Artist, Architect, and Art Educator based in the Washington, D.C. area working under the business name “Nadia J Art.” Her art work is inspired by her deeply spiritual and emotional connection to her faith, as well as the experiences of her life’s journey. Ever since she can remember, Nadia has been reflective of the human experience — from its chaos and despair, to its magnificence and beauty. It is this search for insight and understanding of any moment or event that has led to an infinite source of inspiration for her creative works.

Nadia has been exhibiting her work professionally throughout the United States over the past ten years, and more recently, internationally. She has had numerous works commissioned by private collectors and contributes her art annually to charity events. Her artistic and design services range from painting, handmade products, leading art workshops, writing art columns, and collaborative design projects on a full-time basis, as well as architectural design services in residential development on a freelance basis. Her work can be viewed at, and