Unity Productions Foundation, in partnership with the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, is pleased to present the national film premiere of UPF's latest short film, American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction, followed by a panel discussion on the growing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US election season and beyond. From Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s statement that American Muslims should take loyalty oaths, to the planned anti-Muslim rallies in over twenty cities, Islamophobic statements and sentiment have managed to capture attention and cause alarm on nearly a weekly basis.
This event will showcase a new 11-minute film produced by UPF entitled, American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction which presents groundbreaking research from public opinion surveys and studies of the American Muslim community. The event will also launch a nationwide set of screening events with our film at different universities and communities, and panelists will be asked to reflect on proactive strategies Americans can use to respond to this rising Islamophobia.
Doors open at 6:45, event starts at 7:00 pm
Film Screening: American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction
Panel Discussion: event concludes at 9 pm EST
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Dalia Mogahed is the Director of Research at ISPU where she develops, leads and executes ISPU’s community-focused research strategy. Mogahed works closely with scholars and project managers on major research projects related to American Muslim families and institutions. Mogahed is former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslim communities worldwide. With John L. Esposito, she coauthored the book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009.
John Esposito is University Professor as well as Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, John L. Esposito is Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. Esposito has served as consultant to the U.S. Department of State and other agencies, European and Asian governments and corporations, universities, and the media worldwide. He is a former President of the American Academy of Religion, the Middle East Studies Association of North America and of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, Vice Chair of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders, and member of the E. C. European Network of Experts on De-Radicalisation and Board of Directors of the C-1 World Dialogue.
Tarek El-Messidi is an American Muslim social entrepreneur and speaker, selected as one of the world's 500 Most Influential Muslims of 2012. In 2001, he co-founded the Fast-a-thon, an event that asks non-Muslims to try fasting for one day, raising money to feed the hungry. Fast-a-thons are now held annually at 300 college campuses and have raised over $1.5 million to feed the hungry. After completing an MBA at the University of Tennessee, Tarek relocated to Ohio for a management position at Procter & Gamble. In 2010, he founded CelebrateMercy, a non-profit that teaches about the Prophet Muhammad's legacy through webcasts, films, and seminars. The organization has grown to over 1 million video views and social media followers. In September 2012, Tarek coordinated CelebrateMercy's MercyMail campaign, mobilizing Muslims to "respond to evil with good" by sending condolences to the family of slain US Ambassador Chris Stevens. The campaign went viral, collecting 7,700 letters and receiving international media attention including on CNN and BBC. This year, after the killing of 3 Muslim students in North Carolina, Tarek was national coordinator of the FeedTheirLegacy campaign which mobilized 300 mosques and Muslim groups in 30 US states to host canned food drives. In all, 200,000 meals were collected for food pantries nationwide to honor of the victims' legacies of community service.
Linda Sarsour is a working woman, racial justice and civil rights activist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!” Currently she is the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-founder of the first ever Muslim online organizing platform, MPOWER Change.
Saafir Rabb II has long worked in the communities, under the direction of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, and in conjunction with other members of the US and international communities to represent and promote a Muslim American expression that encourages human excellence and American community building. As CEO of Interculture, Inc. he is a social entrepreneur, community developer, and business strategy consultant who leads a team of problem solvers in work that focuses at the intersection of community and international development. Interculture provides culturally competent strategy advisory and designs approaches for clients interested in achieving sustainable solutions. Interculture’s clients operate across multiple sectors including corporations, foundations, governments, SME’s, and civil society organizations.
Alex Kronemer (opening remarks): Alex Kronemer is the co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), its Director, and Executive Producer for all UPF Films. He is an internationally known speaker and has published numerous articles newspapers and journals in the US and abroad, including The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, the Huffington Post and in syndication in international publications as widespread as the UK, Indonesia, Egypt, and Pakistan. He frequently presents at 20,000 Dialogue events, and has appeared as a CNN commentator on several occasions. Mr. Kronemer has won numerous awards for his work in promoting peace and interfaith understanding. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, he previously served in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Human Rights and was one of the founding staff members who helped establish the U.S. Institute of Peace.