Islam meets hip-hop in PBS documentary
Former drug dealer shares faith through hard-hitting music
The intersection of Islam and American hip-hop is the focal point of a PBS program New Muslim Cool, premiering at 10 p.m. Tuesday nationwide including WGTE-TV, Channel 30.
The 90-minute documentary, produced and directed by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, follows rapper Hamza Perez through the streets, mosques, and jails.
A reformed drug dealer who converted to Islam at age 21, Mr. Perez moved from Massachusetts to Pittsburgh in hopes of rebuilding his life and sharing his faith with others by using hard-hitting hip-hop music.
He and his brother Suliman perform as M-Team, rapping with unflinchingly critical words as they put on an intense stage show that includes flaming machetes.
Their parents are uncomfortable with some of their sons' lyrics, and confused by their switch from Roman Catholicism to Islam.
They are grateful, however, that their new faith has helped them kick their drug habits.
In the documentary, the FBI raids Mr. Perez's new Pittsburgh mosque, forcing him to confront the realities of Islam in the post-9/11 world.
The documentary, which is part of PBS's P.O.V. series, won the Freedom Award at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival in April.
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