I was recently contacted by Elizabeth Potter of Unity Productions Foundation about a project called “My Fellow American” which has produced a short film which can be seen here, myfellowamerican .
The film shows a selection of people going about their daily lives in typical, regular US neighbourhoods. The one thing they all have in common? Well that is revealed in the second half of the film. We see a set of establishing shots of taxis, fire fighters, police officers, scientists, mums in the park, cashiers in a supermarket all regular everyday scenes. The sound track however is a very different story. We hear the rightwing words of speakers advocating anti-Islam feelings and the deportation of Muslims. It’s a rather shocking contrast to the images.
Now it’s safe to say that my theological up bringing is firmly grounded in English Christianity and also that I am far from a practicing member of any faith. The belief that I do have is that each person has the right to believe what they want, where they want. It’s an important element of the society that I want to live in and raise my children in. They, my sons, have & are making their own choices as far as faith is concerned. They do however have the intelligence to respect the point of view of others, even if that is contrary to their own ideas. So I am writing as an independent point of view in the respect that whilst I am not a Muslim and I have some difficulties with elements of the faith I don’t have a problem with the faith in general and I don’t take a fundamentalist Christian view either. I have issues with elements of christianity too and there are extremes on both sides of every belief system like sikhism, judaism et al and there are ‘nutters’ inside and out of every faith. Unfortunately it’s usually the voices that shout loudest that are the ones that are remembered and pushed forward as examples. What this film aims to do, in my view, is show how Muslims can and have become a part of the everyday normal communities we all inhabit. The visuals counter & contradict the audio very well and the visuals also challenge the stereotype of what a Muslim is. An example is very well presented in the following. We see a mother with her child wearing the headscarf, we haven’t seen her face yet. After some other cuts of the fireman the police officer etc she stands and turns and we see a smiling Caucasian face surrounded by the headscarf normally associated with a woman of middle eastern background. An example of the wide breadth of people who have embraced their faith.
Over all I see this as a great example of using the media to give “the majority” a higher profile voice, to show the similarities whilst hearing the single one sided oneway aggressive words of the minority.
Please take the time to visit their site here
They are also on Facebook & twitter facebook.com/MyFellowAmericanProject & @usmuslimstories