Synopsis by Mark Deming
Three stories cross paths within a European Muslim community in this drama. Vedat (Vedat Erincin) is an open-minded imam at a mosque in Berlin. While Vedat believes in a modern and compassionate interpretation of his faith, he worries about his daughter Maryam (Maryam Zaree), who has embraced a Western lifestyle and isn't much interested in the tenants of Islam. As it happens, Vedat's concerns are well-founded; Maryam finds herself pregnant and has an illegal abortion, only to suffer grim side effects and anxieties that she's being punished for immoral behavior. Sammi (Jeremias Acheampong) is a Muslim from Senegal who studies the Koran with Vedat. Sammi is close friends with one of his co-workers, Daniel (Sergej Moya), who is gay; Daniel confesses to Sammi that he's attracted to him, and Sammi is not certain when to do when he realizes he shares these feelings. And Ismail (Carlo Ljubek) is a policeman who is examining the work papers of a handful of Bosnian immigrants when he realizes one of them, Leyla (Marija Skaricic), is a woman he accidentally shot during an altercation three years ago. Ismail has long carried a burden of guilt over his actions, but now that he's face to face with Leyla, what is he to do? Shahada was the first feature film from director Burhan Qurbani; originally created as his thesis project at film school, it went on to become an official selection at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival.