Reformists and conservatives alike harshly criticized Mr. Dehnamaki for making the first movie, "Poverty and Prostitution." Conservatives were furious that one of their own had not only highlighted an un-Islamic social pathology but seemed to sympathize with the prostitutes. Reformists believed he deliberately exaggerated the problem to make a case against easing Islamic law....Much more at the link. Very compelling. Did they have to drag in Michael Moore, though?
In the movie, Mr. Dehnamaki interviews more than a dozen prostitutes and many of their customers. All the women tell the same story of poverty and the need to provide for their families.
"We are two sisters working, and we can hardly earn enough to buy food and pay our rent," says a sobbing woman, whose face was covered to hide her identity.
"I sometimes dream of having chicken, or good food, at least once a week," she goes on, wiping away tears. "I have worked at homes where they had so much money that they threw food in the garbage. I always envy people who can eat well."
A woman clad in the traditional head-to-toe chador, who introduces herself as the mother of the two sisters, says she has thought of killing herself and her daughters several times because of the hardship of their lives but she could not find the courage....
Mr. Dehnamaki, 36, believes Iran needs to modernize, within the confines of a strict Islam, but not Taliban-style.
"If we are against the Islam that the Taliban introduced, we must be able to offer a good model of the Islam that we believe is the source of compassion and kindness," he said. "But it has to be according to the needs of today so that it would be acceptable to our youth."
November 26, 2005
The NYT profiles Massoud Dehnamaki, whom it calls "Iran's Michael Moore":