Blessed Are The Strangers

A Film By Ahmed Peerbux & Sean Hanif Whyte

About The Film

YOU DON'T FIND GOD
GOD FINDS YOU

Blessed Are The Strangers is a new 48-minute documentary film, telling the very British story of a ragtag bunch of white hippies, a committed group of black activists and their journey to Islam via psychedelics and a quest for social change.

Synopsis

Over thirty years, two very different groups of British people become Muslim and come together to form Britain's most diverse community of Muslim converts.

London in the late 1960s. A steady stream of hippies get switched on to the teachings of Sufism through Ian Dallas, a Scottish playwright and actor who had encountered Islam on a trip to Morocco in 1967. Dallas takes the group to Morocco and introduces them to his spiritual master, Shakyh Muhammad ibn al-Habib. The shaykh gifts them his diwan — a book of devotional poetry — with which he tells them to return to England and 'call the people to Islam'

They set up a Sufi community in Maida Vale, the first of its kind in Britain. The community grows rapidly, and the decision is taken to leave London and construct a self-sufficient ‘Muslim village’ on the grounds of a country estate in Norfolk. The experiment fails however, due to an odd combination of extreme asceticism and communalism. Eventually, the community trickles into the nearby city of Norwich, where they establish a mosque.

Meanwhile, in 1980s Brixton, a group of West Indians searching for a new spiritual, cultural and political direction find themselves unexpectedly drawn to Islam. This nascent black Muslim community purchases their own mosque at Gresham Road amid a surge of interest in the faith.

Self-exploration and empowerment take a back seat, however, when a few extremist preachers peddling a puritanical ideology gain a foothold in the mosque. The rigid intensity of this brand of puritanical Islam alienates the new Muslims and, when invited to take over the Mosque in Norwich and join the community there, they immediately accept.

Blessed are the Strangers tells the story of how these two very different groups of people came together to form one of Britain’s oldest and most diverse Muslim convert communities.

News & Events

  • 01 JAN 2017
    Blessed are the Strangers – Coming to a Venue Near You!

    'This beautifully produced film shows how strangers can become brothers and sisters and build bonds beyond the superficial.’

    Norwich: home to mustard, Alan Partridge, and... a community of hippy Muslim converts!

    We are proud to announce that this thought-provoking documentary will be touring cinemas and community venues in cities across the UK throughout 2017.

    TOUR DATES

    • London: 22.10.16 19:00 Rumi's Cave SOLD OUT
    • Glasgow: 29.10.16 15:00 Andalus SOLD OUT
    • London: 13.12.16 19:00 Rich Mix (OFFICIAL UK PREMIER) SOLD OUT
    • Cambridge: 28.12.16 TBC Cambridge Muslim College
    • London: 08.02.17 13:00 London School of Economics SOLD OUT
    • Leeds: 22.02.17 TBC LUU Islamic Society Leeds University
    • London: 10.03.17 TBC London City Circle
    • Leeds: 29.03.17 TBC Muslims in Britain Research Network, University of Leeds

    If you would like to host a community screening please contact us: thestrangers@cmedia.org.uk

  • 01 DEC 2016
    Blessed are the Strangers - UK Premiere

    Insight Film Festival invites you to the UK Premiere of BLESSED ARE THE STRANGERS.

    PLEASE NOTE: Doors Open @ 7:00 pm; show starts @ 7:30 pm SHARP!

    Blessed are the Strangers is a brand new feature documentary telling the very British story of a ragtag bunch of white hippies, a committed group of black activists and their journey to Islam via psychedelics and a quest for social change.

    Britain's Muslim convert community is growing, exceeding 100,000 according to recent estimates. At a time when their loyalty and motives are increasingly being called into question, Blessed are the Strangers sheds new light on a largely hidden and misunderstood section of society.

    Tickets are FREE. A Q&A with the filmmakers and characters from the documentary will follow the screening. Not to be missed!

  • 26 OCT 2016
    Blessed are the Strangers – Film Review by 5Pillars

    Blessed Are The Strangers is a new documentary which tells the inspiring story about a group of Muslim converts in Norwich. Nafees Mahmud says it reveals some uncomfortable truths about the state of the Ummah, but offers solutions for those who pay close attention.

  • 20 JAN 2016
    Blessed Are The Strangers - Coming Soon

    After 5 years' work - writing, traveling, researching, filming and editing - we are extremely pleased to announce that our documentary ‘Blessed Are The Strangers’ is complete!


Watch The Film

Blessed are the Strangers is currently only available to watch at festivals and community screenings. Check our News & Events for details of upcoming screenings.

From Spring 2017 onwards you’ll also be able to watch the film online via Video on Demand or DVD/BluRay.

Host a Screening

Blessed Are The Strangers is currently touring cinemas and community venues across the UK. To host a screening you need a public screening license (includes a disc). Licences cost £150 plus disk shipping. If you’re all set for your screening, please email these details to thestrangers(at)cmedia.org.uk We’ll send you an invoice, mail you a disc and add your screening to our website:

  • Name,
  • Email,
  • Organization,
  • Mailing Address (with country and zip code),
  • Screening Venue,
  • Screening Date,
  • Screening Time,
  • Website for Screening details,
  • Format preference (BluRay or digital file).

Hosting FAQ

Can I charge admissions or ask for donations to my screening? Yes! You are welcome to sell tickets and/or use the film as a fundraiser.

Can I use my screening license for more than one screening?
 Licenses are for single screenings only. If you are hosting multiple screenings, please email thestrangers(at)cmedia.org.uk for a bulk discount.

Can the filmmakers come to our screening? Due to demand, those involved in the film aren’t able to attend every screening; however, if you are able to cover travel costs, please contact us to discuss options.

I still have questions… Email us at thestrangers(at)cmedia.org.uk, and we’ll help you out!

The Team

  • Ahmed Peerbux

    DIRECTOR, PRODUCER & EDITOR

  • Sean Hanif Whyte

    PRODUCER & EDITOR

  • Mike Freedman

    PRODUCER

  • Luqman Heron

    CAMERA & EDITOR

  • Salsabil Morrison

    CAMERA

  • Malik Basso

    CAMERA

  • Mikey Matala

    SOUND RECORDIST

  • Sam Sirajuddin Cousins

    SOUND RECORDIST

  • Tekin Mustafa

    MUSIC COMPOSER

  • Kieran Nagi

    ADDITIONAL MUSIC

  • Bastian Musa Gerner

    SOUND DESIGN

  • Gwyn Evans

    COLOURIST

  • Phoebe Claire Riley

    ANIMATION

  • Ben Gregory

    WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGN

A Special thanks to those who contributed to our Indigogo campaign to help raise funds for the film. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Contact

Please feel free to make contact regarding
General Questions, Press Enquiries, Festivals or Screening Requests.

Make Contact