The Movie ‘A Road to Mecca The Journey of Mohammad Asad’ co-written by IIS graduate Miriam Ali de Unzaga to screen at 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival

The 27th annual Vancouver International Film Festival will be held September 25 – October 10, 2008

A Road to Mecca: The Journey of Mohammad Asad

Nonfiction Features of 2008 (Austria, 2008, 92 mins)
Directed By: Georg Misch

PROD: Ralph Wieser
SCR: Georg Misch, Miriam Ali de Unzaga

Muhammad Asad began life as Leopold Weiss, a Ukrainian Jew. After converting to the Muslim faith in 1926, Asad began one of the most remarkable careers of the 20th century. In addition to his political work (Asad acted variously as an advisor to Saudi Arabia’s ruling monarchy, a UN ambassador and was pivotal in the creation of Pakistan) he also wrote one of the first (and arguably best) English translations of the Koran. In these days of rampant Islamophobia, Asad’s remarkable life has the effect of rendering anew a sense of the porous boundaries between different faiths and cultures while re-emphasizing the power of tolerance.

“Structuring the film according to Asad’s principle that a dialogue should deepen human understanding, [director Georg Misch] allows contradictions while calling deeply rooted prejudices into question. His interviewees include pilgrims on their way to Mecca, a former adviser to Ariel Sharon, impassioned 9/11 commemorators on the streets of New York and Asad’s friends and colleagues. Many of the interviewees bemoan the increasing rigidity of Koranic interpretation, the rise of fundamentalism and the growing gap between Orient and Occident. However, as Misch is scrupulous to show, fanaticism is by no means exclusive to Islam or the Middle East… Written with anthropologist Miriam Ali de Unzaga, and more than four years in the making, [A Road to Mecca] is itself a fine piece of anthropology, worthy of the dedication it copies from Asad’s translation of the Koran: ‘For people who think.'”–Variety

Watch here:

IIS Alumni: Miriam Ali-de-Unzaga, Class of 2000

Miriam Ali de Unzaga, an alumna of the Class of 2000, recently defended her thesis, Weaving Social Life: Moroccan Textiles, People, and Changing Values for her D.Phil in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Museum Ethnography from the University of Oxford.

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, its achievements and humanitarian works.

12 thoughts

  1. This is a beautifully conceived film that made his life and goals real and pertinent. It made me run out to read his memoir. Bravo!


  2. dear all who are interested in Asad’s biopic…the film is not generally for sale to the public as a dvd, but if you contact ICARUS films in NY you can negotiate a price to purchase or learn about where it is being shown lately…it is an excellent film and could turn on some lights if only more knew about him…its been a well kept secret….


  3. Hello

    The movie is going to be shown at Hartford Seminary in Hartford CT on Dec 2nd (I know its a short notice). If you are in the area or intersted you can contact them for additional details and also for possible other show times.


  4. salam.
    I was a fan of Asad since in the 90’s. i had most of his books and i think i understand his way of thinking. for us engineers graduating US, we think he is a genius.It shud be borne in mind, that while writng Road to Mecca, he was not yet a “muslim” by definition. correct me if im wrong as i had read the book more than 10 yrs ago..may be im confused with his “Unromantic orient” that has many photos of Palestine. i havent seen the road to mecca video but for readers, it shud be interesting also to note that this man has also met Umar Mokhtar, the lion of the desert advising him to tactically surrendered as the fighters were outgunned. I have travelled to Mecca thrice during modern times but juxtaposing it with what Asad described back in 1920’s, his prediction is true..Oil will change that nation for better or for worse. Reading the travelogue is a bonus but more enticingly is to read his Magnum Opus, the message of the Quran. I have quite a number of english translation but this one is simply the sharpest and a lot of insights. I have been reading it for >15 years but everytime i read it, i feel like im learning a new thing…The only book in my collection by him which i hv yet to finish is the only copy not lost during ww2- sahih bukhari.
    I want to give many thanks to those who contribute to making of this video. it will be aired in my area in KL, Malaysia next weekend during a conference by Dr Tariq Ramadan. I pray to God to be able to meet Asad’s friends. it will be great honor. I pray to Allah to give Asad highest place in heaven for his sincere contribution to islam.

    Nik Tajuddin


  5. mistake..Asad advice Umar Mokhat not to surrender but rather abandoned the fight as a tactical move as the supply routes were tightly controlled by the italians


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