Jennifer's Blog

An interview with Jennifer Maytorena Taylor

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New Muslim Cool

Islam, Music , Religion, American Culture, Human Rights, Latin America, World Affairs, Law and the Penal System, Government, Civil Rights, Social Justice
Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
56/83 minutes


*Official Selection San Francisco International Film Festival
*Official Selection Rooftop Film Festival
*Official Selection Lincoln Center Independents Night
*POV Premiere Film on PBS
*Born From Above Award Religion Today Film Festival
*Freedom Award Al Jazeera Int'l Documentary Festival
*Best Documentary Luanda Film Fest Angola

The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre has named Hamza Perez one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World!

"Highly recommended!" -Video Librarian

"SPELLBINDING!" -San Francisco Chronicle

"NEW MUSLIM COOL forges a path for New America" -The Huffington Post

"One of the most lyrical, complex and contemporary investigations of religion in America." -Diane Winston, USC's Knight Chair in Media and Religion

"NEW MUSLIM COOL possesses a kind of beauty that sneaks up on you" -NY Times

"New Muslim Cool [reveals] not necessarily a new Muslim, but more poignantly a new sensibility about an America whosebrownness and blackness, Caribbeanness and 'latinidad,' is Muslim too." -John Tofik Karam, JLACA Review



Puerto Rican American rapper Hamza Perez ended his life as a drug dealer 12 years ago, and started down a new path as a young Muslim.

Now he's moved to Pittsburgh's tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family, and take his message of faith to other young people through his uncompromising music as part of the hip-hop duo M-Team.

Raising his two kids as a single dad and longing for companionship, Hamza finds love on a Muslim networking website and seizes the chance for happiness in a second marriage.

But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and challenge himself. He starts reaching for a deeper understanding of his faith, discovering new connections with people from Christian and Jewish communities.

NEW MUSLIM COOL takes viewers on Hamza's ride through the streets, projects and jail cells of urban America, following his spiritual journey to some surprising places where we can all see ourselves reflected in a world that never stops changing.



Jennifer Maytorena Taylor

Producer/Director Jennifer Maytorena Taylor's credits include the documentaries Ramadan Primetime, Special Circumstances, Paulina, Home Front and Immigration Calculations, and many short films and television segments.

Her work has won numerous festival awards and two Emmys. Based in San Francisco, she has held several arts and journalism fellowships, most recently with New Muslim Cool at the Sundance Institute's Documentary Edit and Story Lab.


”A sensitive and perceptive film…the film’s real strength is mixing the political with the domestic.” -Mother Jones Magazine

A fine illustration of the melting pot's latest cultural flavors, as well as a helpful look past post-9/11 Islamic stereotypes. -Variety

“This film is by far the most accurate and sympathetic portrayal of the Muslim convert experience in the American inner city that I have ever seen in the media.” -Muslim Matters


Somos: Muslim Latinos by Maria Hinojosa, Latino USA


New Muslim Cool Special Educational Edition features:
• The original feature-length film (83 mins)
• The abridged classroom version (56 mins)
• 4 standards-based lesson plans with activities
• Short video modules for the lesson plans

Purchase the New Muslim Cool Educational Version


Educational Materials

Lesson Plans: New Muslim Cool Dialogues

The Special Educational Edition of the film available exclusively from us contains lesson plans (Dialogues) that may be downloaded here. They are supplemented by the video modules on the DVD. Link will download a zip file.

New Muslim Cool Dialogues

Suggested Films

        Building Babel                    Mom, Dad, I'm Muslim


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