Examine how Arranged shows that "friendship has no religion." 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the major points behind Arranged is to show that friendship can overcome external barriers that religious fervor and misunderstanding often provides.  The film shows that the friendship between Nasira and Rochel is able to flourish despite their religious backgrounds.  Both of them being Orthodox Muslim and Jewish would provide some external challenges to their friendship.  As their students perceive, both are meant to dislike one another because of their perceived religious antagonism.  Friendship between both women emerges because of an understanding that exists outside of religious identity.  The film shows that friendship has no specific religious basis.  People who empathize and understand one another can do so outside of the controlled domain of their own religious beliefs.  The friendship between both women is not inhibited by religious differences.  "Friendship has no religion" is a value that the film affirms.  Nasira and Rochel worship in their own way, and are able to sustain their friendship with one another despite being seen by others as natural enemies.

It is in this regard where the film shows that friendship has no religion.  When Principal Jacoby hauls both women in her office, she is convinced that their own religious mode of expression defines their identity.  The reality is that religious modes of the good are not the sole point of definition for each.  The film shows that while both women do appreciate their religious background, it is the not the sole defining quality within them.  When Principal Jacoby suggests to both women that their religious backgrounds are “the sort of superstitious nonsense that we try to discourage,” it actually goes very far in solidifying both women's stances.

Nasira and Rochel befriend one another because they define themselves in more ways than religious expression. Certainly, both women define themselves as women in traditional configurations.  Yet, this is not the only component to their identity.  They define themselves as human beings who seek to love and to be loved. They define themselves in a complex and humanistic manner, being able to look out for the other and empathize with the other's plight.  In doing so, friendship and bonds of solidarity exist despite the stereotypical construction of religious identity.  

"Friendship has no religion" becomes a significant idea in the narrative that the film offers.  It is one in which Nasira and Rochel understand one another while cherishing their religion as well as one another.  Friendship between the two women is shown to exist outside of religious identity and is where lifelong attachment between both transpires.

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