Mar 26, 2020 - All day - Mar 26, 2020
430 E Street, NW
Washington, DC, DC 20001
Religious courts in the Middle East had historically banned women from adjudicating domestic and family matters - in both the Shari'a courts of Islam and the Rabbinic courts of Judaism - until the Honorable Kholoud Al-Faqih, dares to challenge that history. With the support of a progressive Sheik, Judge Kholoud becomes the first woman judge with her appointment to a Palestinian Shari'a court in the West Bank, bringing a subtle new perspective garnered from her early professional life working with battered women as an attorney in both the criminal and Shari'a courts.
This feature-length documentary chronicles Judge Kholoud' s appointment, her first years as a judge, and her tenacious ability to maintain her position despite attempts to marginalize and demote her. Through Judge Kholoud' s eyes, the film examines the religious and legal stipulations between men and women according to Shari' a law, relaying how the worst aspects of misinterpreted Shari' a laws reflect a tragic misogyny - rape, beatings, and polygamy - stemming from misconstrued ignorance of the Qur'an. As Judge Kholoud's most compelling cases develop in gripping cinema verite style, the film reveals precisely the kinds of misinterpretations of Shari'a law that she now has the power to correct.
THE JUDGE follows Judge Kholoud in and outside of the courtroom as she asserts her right to equality and redefines how Shari'a law perceives, treats, and respects women. Illustrating a unique portrait of her sustained intervention, THE JUDGE reveals that Shari'a is a system largely mischaracterized both in the Middle East and in the West. Amid a time of rapidly increasing global Islamophobia, the unprecedented Muslim Ban and future potential Muslim registry - THE JUDGE illuminates how colonial occupation has impacted the legal and cultural worlds of the contemporary Islamic world, while reflecting a universal struggle for women's control over their bodies, economic welfare, custodial rights, and marital status.