Film Explores Detroit Muslim Students Lives
Giving a deeper look into the Muslims’ life in the US, an American cable network aired a short-film on Monday evening, January 6, that highlights bigotry and hate Muslim students face at Detroit schools due to their faith.
“They say Muslims are dirty and terrorists,” Mohammed Hussein, a students at the Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, said in the short-film, Detroit Free Press reported.
Titled "The Education of Mohammed Hussein", the film gives a deeper look into the lives of young students and teens at the traditional Islamic schools in Metro Detroit.
The film features teenage Muslims from Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, a traditional Islamic school in Detroit, who might be discriminated against due to their faith.
Talking in the film, Hussein, 10-year-old Al-Iklas student, complained that some people in Detroit still alienate Muslims.
The film also tackles the frenzy stirred by anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones, who burnt copies of the Noble Quran as well as leading anti-Muslims rallies in metro Detroit.
In one scene, the extremist pastor was speaking in the Muslim-majority City Hall in Dearborn.
In another scene, his backers welcome him saying: "They can blow our stuff up, but we can’t burn a book?”
The work was praised by Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“I think the documentary did a wonderful job of showing how the metro Detroit community did not allow itself to be divided by Pastor Terry Jones,” said Walid.
The short film is co-produced by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady filmmakers, who had produced Detropia; a documentary which discusses the economic crisis in Detroit in 2012.
Home Box Office (HBO), the American cable and satellite television network, broadcasted the short-film for the first time on Monday's night.
The film focuses on interfaith relations, referring to an interfaith rally which gathered city' religious leaders to promote tolerance in the community.
“Detroit is a very fascinating and multilayered place, and there’s a lot of different stories to tell," says Heidi Ewing, one of the filmmakers, who grew up in Farmington Hills.
"This one merited its own treatment."
During the film shooting, Ewing and Grady said that they were welcomed by the director of Al-Ikhlas Academy, brother Nadir Ahmad, who granted them an access to the academy.
The situation wasn't the same when they tried to gain access to Muslim-American families' private homes, who feared that the filmmakers may be undercover FBI agents.
"People were as friendly as they could be, but truthfully, there was, at one point, a rumor going around that we were not really a film crew, but the FBI in disguise," Ewing said.
Debuted at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2013, "The Education of Mohammad Hussein" was included in the Oscar's short list in 2012, but it hadn't been landed a nomination.
In 2006, the two filmmakers, Ewing and Grady, were Oscar nominees for their documentary "Jesus Camp".
The United States is home to a Muslim minority of between six to eight million.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a new study last December showing that a high number of Muslim students in the US western state of California fall victims of bullying from classmates.
The new report, "Growing in Faith: California Muslim Youth Experiences with Bullying, Harassment and Religious Accommodation in Schools," is based on a statewide survey of almost 500 Muslim students, ages 11 to 18.