By Adil James, TMO
Farmington–April 9–Michael Wolfeâ€™s Movie, Enemy of the Reich, is an hour long documentary about the life of Nurunnisa Khan, the beloved daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan, the musician and Sufi teacher and mystic who travelled to the West and married an American girl–Nurunnisaâ€™s mother, with whom Hazrat Inayat Khan had four children.
Last Tuesday there was a presentation of the film at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center–many interfaith activists were present including Dawud Zwink, Bob Bruttel, and Ayesha Mahmood.
Zwink introduced the people present. Bruttel spoke of the heroism of Khan during the Nazi holocaust, and Ayesha Mahmood introduced the work of the famous filmmaker Michael Wolfe who converted to Islam several decades ago.
The film itself describes briefly the life and teachings and travels of Inayat Khan, a famous man whose books can still be found on the shelves of bookstores everywhere.
Inayat Khan initially travelled to the West as a musician in order to further his studies in music, then devoted himself to teaching Westerners about Sufism.
His daughter Nurunnisa was deeply influenced by his teachings–although her father passed away when she was very young she remained very pious throughout her life–she would never lie and she gave her full sincerity in the war against the Nazis, risking torture and almost certain death working as a radio operator from occupied France–willingly choosing to remain under pressure from the Germans in France after she had an opportunity to leave safely.
Early in her life she wrote a series of childrenâ€™s stories–then she worked as a radio operator–work which would serve as a foundation for her clandestine agent to help the resistance and undermine the Germans in France.
At first when she began her training as a clandestine radio operator she faced difficulties because she saw coded messages as a form of lying–when it was explained to her that using the code correctly without mistakes was the only way to send a message devoid of lies she began to excel at it.
During WWII, a young genius had developed a system for encoding messages that involved complex mathematical calculations that had to be done on the spot when sending a message–for several months Nurunnisa would do very difficult college level math problems daily or possibly even more often than that, while simultaneously travelling around France, evading pursuit, under threat of torture and death.
Eventually she was betrayed by a woman she knew, who apparently envied her her beautiful looks and talent–she was imprisoned and tortured by the Nazis but managed to participate in an escape plot that partially succeeded but unfortunately was hatched when a British air raid was incoming–the coming of the air raid exposed her and her coconspirators who were shipped to a concentration camp and killed.
It is truly wonderful that Michael Wolfe has taken the time to show the world the wonderful work done by Nurunnisa Khan, with tremendous courage, zeal, patience and faith, a woman who chose to fight on against the evil Nazi regime in the face of an almost certain death–which indeed, unfortunately, came to pass.