Five Muslim Americans, each once an immigrant and now a naturalized citizen, are forced to contend with a changing world in the Age of Trump. American Muslim chronicles five diverse Muslims in New York City, telling the stories of an Indonesian Imam in Jamaica, a Bengali small business owner in Ozone Park, a Yemeni activist in Ditmas Park, a Palestinian community organizer in Bay Ridge, and an Algerian mosque director in Sunset Park. Together they create a composite portrait of Muslim life today.
Firmly committed to the U.S., they find their presence here questioned in ways never imagined, and each fights back against the Muslim Ban while continuing to explore a Muslim identity. Across the year and a half period from the President's Inauguration to the Supreme Court's decision on the Ban, Shamsi, Kobir, Debbie, Aber, and Mohamed navigate the constantly evolving reality of being an American Muslim.
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "After the election of Trump, I was devastated. Like so many of my peers, I was shocked and virtually paralyzed.
A few days later I was invited by a friend to a Muslim-Jewish discussion circle. There, we shared our feelings in small groups - our fears and outrage. Then a Muslim-American woman, Debbie Almontaser, rose and spoke about what was happening in her community. How anti-Muslim targeting had increased greatly, and reports of violence and hate speech against Muslims were clearly on the rise. At that moment I recognized that my Muslim neighbors were on the absolute front line in this new era of sanctioned bigotry. And at the same time, I was stunned to acknowledge that despite living in New York City my whole life, I didn't really know any Muslim Americans.
Then and there I realized I had to get out of my homogenous Manhattan neighborhood and go meet my neighbors. I just wanted to get to know Muslim communities better and contribute in some way. For the next year and a half, I followed the trajectory and pushback against the Muslim ban.
The result of that 18 months is American Muslim."