The two main characters in the film are well-known Toronto-based Muslim artists, Boonaa Mohammed and Mohamed Zeyara.
“My character’s name is Khalil and he is a Somali Canadian who has spent some time in prison for some drug related offences and now that he has come out of prison, he was able to turn his life around,” says Boona Mohammed. “He made tauba (repentance) to Allah and change his perspective on life.”
“He has come out only to discover that his family and community have completely turned their back on him – his family doesn’t want anything to do with him because of his past mistakes and the Muslim community is not equipped to deal with situations like his, so he finds himself literally living on the brink of society with really nowhere to turn.”
“So, after coming out of prison and feeling like he has no one to turn to, my character Khalil befriends Anas who is played by Mohamed Zeyara. Anas is a former police informant whose job it was to carry out surveillance on the Muslim community,” adds Mohammed. “But after many years of doing so, Anas feels very conflicted so he is now bent on destroying the system that he feels has taken his life away from him.”
Boonaa Mohammed is a critically acclaimed, award winning writer and performer with accolades including a playwright residency at Theatre Passe Muraille, a short story published in a Penguin Canada anthology called “Piece by Piece”, and various slam poetry titles credits including winner of the 2007 CBC Poetry Face-Off “Best New Artist” award.
Dubbed the “voice of a generation,” Boonaa Mohammed’s popular Youtube videos have received millions of views to date, and he has traveled across the world, speaking alongside many influential scholars and entertainers.
Mohamed Zeyara is a Muslim youth advisor, filmmaker, and mostly known for his online educational and motivational videos.
Most of his knowledge is acquired from the 8 years of experience living in Gaza City during his adolescence.
Zeyara’s videos have been watched by millions of Muslims and non-Muslims across the world.
“This film, Tug of War, is extremely relevant, not just because of the current political climate that we find ourselves in but because it works to answer some basic and fundamental questions that we all ask ourselves, for instance why do so many young Muslims living in the West want to go overseas and engage in these particular wars,” says Boonaa Mohammed.
“Now the answer is not as clear cut as we think it might be,” he adds. “It is a very complex issue but we are trying to use this film as a conversation starter to get our community to think about this in a more critical way.”
To support the crowdfunding campaign, please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/tugofwar