Directed by Deepa Dhanraj • 2011 • India
In Southern India, many family disputes are settled by Jamaats—all-male bodies that apply Islamic Sharia law to cases without allowing women to be present, even to defend themselves. Recognizing this fundamental inequity, a group of women in 2004 established a women’s Jamaat, which soon became a network of 12,000 members spread over twelve districts. Despite enormous resistance, they have been able to settle more than 8,000 cases to date, ranging from divorce to domestic abuse to brutal murders and more. Award-winning filmmaker Deepa Dhanraj (SOMETHING LIKE A WAR) follows several such cases, shining a light on how the women’s Jamaat has acquired power through both communal education and the leaders’ persistent, tenacious, and compassionate investigation of the crimes.