Between September 15, 2011 - March 28, 2013, the Mosque Alert creative team, led by playwright/director Jamil Khoury and videomaker Deann Baker, developed and disseminated thirty-six videos, including two video essays, twenty-four single character video blogs, nine two-character conflict scenes, and one compilation video. These videos comprised the first four steps of a nine step online civic engagement and new play development process that Khoury designed to assist him with writing the play. With the release of each video, Khoury would pose questions to which online participants would then respond. This viewer feedback proved to be invaluable throughout his writing process. To date, over 25,000 people around the world have engaged with these videos.
It's important to note that the six characters featured in this early iteration of Mosque Alert's online development are not necessarily the same characters that comprise the full length stage play that eventually emerged. In the play, there are now eleven characters, some of whom are influenced by the original six characters, others of whom appeared at later points in Khoury's creative journey.
The videos and accompanying conversations all appear below.
(5 min, 57 sec) | September 27, 2011
Playwright Jamil Khoury describes in detail his latest project Mosque Alert.
(6 min, 45 sec) | September 15, 2011
Playwright Jamil Khoury discusses his inspirations and rationale for wanting to write Mosque Alert.
Introducing the Characters
Imam Mustafa Khan - played by Khurram Mozaffar
(3 min, 43 sec) | October 5, 2011
Imam Mustafa Khan discusses his perspectives on what it means to be an American, and in particular, what it means to be both American and Muslim.
(2 min, 55 sec) | October 5, 2011
Mustafa Khan, the Pakistani born Imam of a mosque in Naperville, Illinois, takes a moment to share his personal story.
(2 min, 44 sec) | October 5, 2011
Imam Mustafa Khan reacts to the resistance he and his community are facing as they try to build a new mosque in Naperville, Illinois.
(3 min, 26 sec) | October 5, 2011
Imam Mustafa Khan shares the challenges he faces at home, in his marriage, as well as in the public sphere, due to his community's proposal to build a new mosque in Naperville, Illinois.
(10 min, 57 sec) | April 23, 2013
Charles Baker - played by Don Bender
(2 min, 49 sec) | October 11, 2011
Charles Baker, a Republican member of the Dupage County Board and candidate for Mayor of Naperville, Illinois, discusses his upbringing, family life, and political career.
(4 min, 4 sec) | October 12, 2011
In this video blog, Charles Baker reflects on some personal challenges he faces at home with a career minded wife and a liberal gay son.
(3 min, 9 sec) | October 12, 2011
Charles Baker waxes poetic on what it means to be an American.
(3 min, 56 sec) | October 12, 2011
Charles Baker expresses his opposition to a proposal to build a new mosque in his hometown of Naperville, Illinois.
(12 min, 2 sec) | April 23, 2013
Ayesha Khan - played by Fawzia mirza
(2 min, 55 sec) | October 21, 2011
Ayesha Khan, discusses her perspectives on what it means to be an American, and in particular, what it means to be a Muslim American feminist.
(2 min, 51 sec) | October 21, 2011
Ayesha Khan, the Pakistani born wife of Imam Mustafa Khan and head pharmacist at a Naperville, Illinois drugstore, sheds light on her personal background.
(3 min, 19 sec) | October 21, 2011
Ayesha Khan expresses her frustrations with her husband, whom she believes is not being aggressive enough in defending their community's right to build a new mosque.
(3 min, 15 sec) | October 21, 2011
Ayesha Khan reacts to the resistance she and her community are facing as they try to build a new mosque in Naperville, Illinois.
(10 min, 21 sec) | June 17, 2013
Emily Baker - Played by justine serino
(2 min, 49 sec) | November 17, 2011
Emily Baker takes time to reflect on her life and what it means to be an American woman.
(2 min, 56 sec) | November 15, 2011
Emily Baker introduces herself and her family in this brief autobiographical video blog.
(2 min, 47 sec) | November 17, 2011
Emily Baker explains why a proposed mosque should be approved in her community, despite her husband's strong opposition to it.
(3 min, 45 sec) | November 17, 2011
Emily Baker discusses problems within her family and the tensions between her and her husband.
(10 min, 20 sec) | June 17, 2013
Carl Baker - Played by nicholas cimino
(2 min, 39 sec) | March 14, 2012
Carl Baker introduces himself as the liberal, gay son of the Baker Family.
(3 min, 21 sec) | March 14, 2012
Carl Baker articulates, with great passion, the meanings he ascribes to being an American.
(3 min, 42 sec) | March 14, 2012
Carl Baker blasts DuPage County Republicans, and most notably his father, for their opposition to the building of a new mosque in Naperville, Ilinois.
(3 min, 31 sec) | March 14, 2012
Carl Baker reflects on his deteriorating relationship with his conservative father.
(9 min, 46 sec) | April 23, 2013
Jennifer Baker - Played by melissa kong
(1 min, 43 sec) | December 15, 2011
Jennifer Baker imagines a country that combines the best of America with the best of France.
(2 min, 13 sec) | December 15, 2011
Jennifer Baker describes growing up as a Chinese adoptee and her passion for France.
(1 min, 46 sec) | December 15, 2011
Jennifer Baker vents her frustrations about her mother.
(1 min, 43 sec) | December 15, 2011
Jennifer Baker projects her anger at her Muslim ex-boyfriend onto the proposed mosque.
(5 min, 27 sec) | April 23, 2013
Two-Character Conflict Scenes
(13 min, 7 sec) | January 26, 2012
“Barack Hussein Obama” is a dramatized intra-Muslim reflection on America’s 44th President featuring the characters Imam Mustafa Khan (played by Khurram Mozaffar) and his wife Ayesha Khan (played by Fawzia Mirza). The Khans are both Obama supporters, but Ayesha has grown rather critical of Obama’s leadership style, whereas Imam Mustafa defends Obama’s leadership. The perceived performance of President Obama thus becomes subtext for their marital tensions.
(11 min, 12 sec) | February 2, 2012
"Stay at Home Mom" explores tensions long thought resolved, yet raging beneath the surface, over the roles of mothers and wives in American society. The unabashedly masculinist Charles Baker (played by Don Bender) and his born-again feminist wife, Emily Baker (played by Justine Serino) revisit the classic battle-of-the-sexes against the backdrop of sweeping social change.
(10 min, 53 sec) | March 14, 2012
"Virginity Redux" tells the story of Jennifer Baker (played by Melissa Kong) and her first love gone sour. Jennifer loses her virginity to Kareem, a dashing young French Algerian Muslim man she falls in love with in Paris, only to later be rejected by Kareem for essentially not being a virgin. As Jennifer’s hurt morphs into anti-Muslim rage, her brother Carl Baker (played by Nicholas Cimino) attempts to stage an intervention and bring back the “real” Jen.
(7 min, 52 sec) | April 18, 2012
“Headscarf Pharmacist” tears the veil off headscarves, motherhood, and polite liberalism in a lively one-on-one between the wives of the men at the nexus of Naperville’s mosque controversy. Ayesha Khan (played by Fawzia Mirza) confronts Emily Baker (played by Justine Serino) after Emily’s daughter, Jennifer, mockingly refers to Head Pharmacist Ayesha as the “headscarf pharmacist.”
(14 min, 33 sec) | May 22, 2012
“The Muslims are Coming! The Muslims are Coming!” pits Naperville, IL mayoral candidate Charles Baker (played by Don Bender) against Imam Mustafa Khan (played by Khurram Mozaffar), spiritual leader of a Naperville mosque. Baker and Khan duel over a perceived “Islamic threat” to Western civilization, leaving the U.S. Constitution hanging in the balance.
(8 min, 31 sec) | June 27, 2012
“Ambition Impossible” depicts concerned mom, Emily Baker (played by Justine Serino), and her dismayed daughter, Jennifer Baker (played by Melissa Kong), who find themselves at a crossroads over Jennifer’s plans to become a high school French teacher. What Emily views as a lack of ambition, Jennifer sees as pursuing her life’s dream.
(13 min, 12 sec) | August 1, 2012
"Like Father, Like Son" scours for common ground between a conservative Republican father and his liberal gay son. Former “chip off the old block” Carl Baker (played by Nicholas Cimino) goes toe-to-toe with his father, Charles Baker (played by Don Bender) in this intergenerational contest. Charles struggles to accept Carl’s homosexuality and,even more so, his political liberalism.
(10 min, 46 sec) | September 5, 2012
"To Veil or Not to Veil" positions the hijab-wearing Ayesha Khan (played by Fawzia Mirza) against anti-veil crusader Jennifer Baker (played by Melissa Kong) in a lively rumination on what the Muslim hijab (headscarf) represents. Does wearing the veil constitute feminism or oppression? As meanings and symbols get tossed about, a healthy dose of irreverence gets thrown in the mix.
(15 min, 50 sec) | October 23, 2012
“The Imam and the Homosexual” probes the “strange bedfellows” political alliance between Imam Mustafa Khan (played by Khurram Mozaffar), spiritual leader of a besieged Naperville, Illinois mosque, and Carl Baker (played by Nicholas Cimino), the openly gay son of the imam’s chief nemesis. As Imam Mustafa struggles to reconcile his support for civil rights with his religious and cultural objections to homosexuality, Carl imagines the Muslim and LGBT communities uniting against their common enemies.
(20 min, 58 sec) | March 28, 2013
"Meet Mosque Alert" is a compilation of video clips created as part of playwright Jamil Khoury's online new play development process designed to inform the writing of his new play Mosque Alert. The compilation tells a full story in and of itself, and provides a helpful overview of the early stages of Mosque Alert's development.