Feedback from the Start: Enlisting Community in the Creation of Mosque Alert

If it takes a village to write a play, then it’s taken a mid-sized city to write Mosque Alert. A lot of amazing people, many of whom I’ve never met, have weighed in on this story. And despite being someone who loves to talk, I found myself doing a great deal of listening and ended up learning more than I ever imagined. Invite co-creators, and they shall come. Invite them from the very beginning, and they will be heard. 

 

We the People…In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

Stories of hate are all too familiar. In recent months the news has been filled with embarrassing and horrifying incidents that seem to be on repeat at the expense of our fellow Muslim citizens. Suggestions of databases and watch lists, speculation about restrictions on hypothetical Muslim presidents, journalistic indiscretion, and refusal to accept Syrian refugees—these stories of intolerance fill our news feeds, dinner conversations, and consciousness. While liberal audiences might dismiss these “American extremists,” it is important to note that there were thirty-eight anti-Islamic hate crimes between November 13th and December 17th of 2015 and the number of Americans who have an unfavorable view of Islam (55%) is higher than it was in the months immediately following September 11th, 2001.

 

Pre-Teen, Post-9/11: A Brief Reflection on Millennials, Muslims, and Mosque Alert

Despite having worked at Silk Road Rising for over two years, it only recently struck me how incredible an opportunity this has been. I was born in Texas, raised in Indiana, and I identify as white, straight, male, and (begrudgingly) “millennial”—that ill-defined yet universally recognized strata of the young American populace. Silk Road Rising’s mission is devoted to the representation of Middle Eastern and Asian Americans, which, clearly, I am not. Whether you call it privilege or ignorance, a person in my position isn’t typically exposed to the narratives of the Silk Road. But thanks to my good fortune, mine has not been the typical experience, and so I find it worthwhile at this long-awaited premiere of Mosque Alert to reflect on my growth as a majority millennial through Silk Road Rising.

Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All

Fear is a normal emotion, especially in the face of inexplicable violence. Particularly since the terrorist acts of 9/11, Americans as a whole seem more fearful; it’s no surprise that they are looking for scapegoats. Our country has been hurting. The last decade has seen a high percentage of unemployment. So many businesses have shuttered. So many people are struggling, particularly in the working class. This resulting pain, along with the flames of panic fueled by political fear-mongers, feeds racism. Some Americans are so eager to pin their troubles on anyone and so desperately in need of a victory that they’ve made it easy for public figures to divide and conquer. Mix in resentment between the “haves” and “have-nots” and poof! Disuniting a people couldn’t be any easier.