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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Recent UF alumnae Jolene Pinder and Sarah Zaman were awarded the top Emmy for their documentary, entitled "Bismillah: In the Name of Allah," at the 29th annual College Television Awards held in Los Angeles last week.

The film documents the story of Farheen Hakeem, the leader of a Muslim Girl Scouts troop who became the first Muslim woman to run for political office in Minnesota, Zaman said.

Through the film, Pinder and Zaman sought to empower women with the idea that they can inspire change and challenge the stereotypes placed on Muslims in the U.S.

"In mainstream America, Muslims are portrayed in a rather one-dimensional light," Pinder said. "You can be both an American and a Muslim."

On a budget of $5,500 awarded by the UF Documentary Institute, Pinder and Zaman made multiple trips to Minnesota to film Hakeem at work.

The two began research for their project in 2006, screened the film at UF last May and are still fine-tuning it for potential public broadcast, Pinder said.

However, Pinder and Zaman didn't expect the level of success the documentary has attained. The two were thrilled to find themselves walking a red carpet at the awards ceremony.

"Being a Muslim, it means a lot that what we thought was so important and inspiring to us was so important and inspiring to other people," Zaman said.

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