Zahra Mackaoui

Pop Goes Islam

Executive Producer
ARTE/ZDF & Al Jazeera English, Witness

In 2009, viewers across the Middle East waited with anticipation for the arrival of an entirely new entertainment phenomenon. For amidst the pop channels, religions shows, soap operas and game shows, emerged the entirely unique TV channel known as 4Shabab (4Youth). Its aim? To bring religious pop music to the regionís youth, who were being led astray by a decline in morals.

Within the first few months of its launch, the channel was a sensation. But fame and success bought with it different challenges. Funded by Saudi money, the channel found that even its Islamic approach wasnít enough to satisfy the strict views of Wahhabi founders. Even modestly veiled women were banned from appearing in the pop shows.

Staff morale plummeted and 4Shabab found itself between a rock and a hard stone. POP GOES ISLAM follows the trails of 4Shabab over the course of one year, from the euphoric early days, to its eventual demise via the interactions of two protagonists: Abu Haiba, the man behind the dream of 4Shabab and veiled model Yasime Mohsen, who wants nothing more than to anything to show the world, via the channel, that Islamic modesty can reach mainstream. But can Islam ever really go pop?