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Nothing is Forgiven

Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Bart Van Langendonck
Directed by Vincent Coen and Guillaume Vandenbergh
DVD, color, 61 min.
High School - General Adult
Islam, Journalism, Activism, Arab Spring, Terrorism

Reviewed by Lara Herzellah, Research and Information Literacy Librarian, Daniel A. Reed Library, State University of New York at Fredonia

Not Recommended   
Date Entered: 12/22/2017

Nothing is Forgiven is the story of Zineb El Rhazoui, a Moroccan activist who rose to prominence during the Arab Spring in Morocco. She then fled to Paris when, after the election of an Islamist government, she faced harassment and the threat of arrest due to her revolutionary views. While starting a new life in Paris she began working at the satirical, French magazine Charlie Hebdo and was the principal writer for the controversial 2013 Special Issue. This documentary chronicles her life before, during and after the infamous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7th, 2015 where terrorists killed her friends and colleagues, and she became the most protected woman in France.

The film highlights the resilience of a woman who is firm in her beliefs and continues to voice her opinion, regardless of threats against her. It uses a mixture of interviews with Zineb and footage of her daily life to tell her interesting story. Nonetheless, it is clear from this film that Zineb is very anti-Islam and has extremely strong views about the religion. Her views promote an Islamophobic way of thinking and throughout the film, she argues that Islam is not a religion of peace but a religion that promotes violence. However, she fails to mention instances of violence, which can be found throughout history, that have been fueled by religions other than Islam, and that texts of any religion can be twisted in ways to suggest a promotion of violence. This film is not recommended because although it tells a compelling story of strength, it also promotes Islamophobia and racist views of Muslims, which should not be encouraged.