POV, the critically acclaimed PBS documentary series screened the much-awaited “An Act of Worship”. The story of what it has been like to live as a Muslim in the US for the last 30 years, as told by an all-Muslim filmmaking team.
The term sentiments around ‘Islamophobia,’ which has been aggressively popularized, and politicized for decades in the American consciousness. Pakistani-American filmmaker Nausheen Dadabhoy weaves a glorious tapestry of personal stories, archival footage, and home movies to open a window into the world of Muslim Americans.
Why is the film so significant?
The mindset of ‘Muslim = terrorist’ rhetoric increased after 9/11, and the subsequent Patriot Act had a palpable effect on US Muslims, who found themselves open targets for slurs, and sometimes, violence.
“An Act of Worship” traces the timeline of past decades of American Muslim life- from the Gulf War, 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, Donald Trump’s presidential election, and his subsequent travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. These are real-life narratives, which on most occasions, were either denied or represented by people outside the community.
Who better to speak about their reality other than the American Muslims themselves?
The documentary follows three women activists- a South Asian, Pakistani American Ameena Qazi in Los Angeles, Palestinian American Aber Kawas in Brooklyn, and Sudanese American Khadega Mohammed in Detroit. Blending closely with each woman’s tale is a historical timeline that the South Asian director Dadabhoy carefully crafted to take a look back at pivotal moments affecting the Muslims.
It’s a community that has undergone enormous change as it emerges from the shadows to shape its own narrative and resist further social marginalization.
“An Act of Worship” is a must-watch and might just be the stepping stone needed to change the narrative about a community.
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POV episodes premiere Monday nights and are available for streaming concurrently with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org, and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast, and VIZIO.
I dip my pen in a pot of fashion and attempt to write words of appreciation in art.