Unmosqued Film Posts

UnMosqued Q: Imam Suhaib Webb on "Where are Converts kids?"

We just launched a Kickstarter campaign for UnMosqued to pay for some of the post production costs, such as editing, animations, etc.

We want the film to be a catalyst for people to begin to create positive change in their mosque, and that is already happening. Here is your opportunity to be a part of this positive change. Kickstarter is all or nothing, if we don't raise the total amount we need, we get nothing. Please consider backing this film on Kickstarter and helping us complete it.

THE TEASER HAS FOUND AN AUDIENCE

Unmosqued Teaser  

We've chosen not to market our project at this stage of the process, just publishing some blog posts for the small number of people on our facebook fanpage. We decided this early on both because we needed to finalize the film's subjects and themes before we made it "public", but also because we have very limited time to work on this each day. When the time is right we will go out and actively tell our story, but at this stage you're enormously privileged to be reading this (joking).

Since we launched our first teaser a little over a month ago, it has almost 35,000 views. (There is another repost of this exact teaser with ~5k views).  The teaser alone has generated countless discussions about the topic among many different circles across the nation.  Aside from this proving that there is a genuine interest in what we're creating it's also a testament to the importance of the topic itself to all those that are involved/not involved at the mosque. Much more to come. Stay tuned.

Why UnMosqued The Movie?

UnMosqued is a documentary film which aims to highlight the growing need for reform in many of the mosques found in America. The purpose of the documentary is to engage a group of people who have been disconnected from their local mosque and explore the various reasons that have led to this sentiment. It is clear that many youth who are likely to be second or even third generation Americans have felt judged or unwelcome at a mosque. It may be the degree of friendliness or a lack of ownership that breeds this feeling. Masajid may not be doing enough to attract and retain the youth, which further alienates the future members of the community from using the mosque space for their spiritual growth.

UnMosqued aims to explore this growing unease with the masjid space and why it exists. One clear factor is the cultural divide that pervades the American Mosque landscape. According to The American-Mosque 2011 report, "3/4 of all mosques are dominated by one ethnic group. In most cases this one group is either South Asian, Arab, or African American," (p.14). As Muslims become integrated within American society and grow up in a diverse multi-racial environment, it becomes increasingly uncomfortable to enter a mosque that is predominated by a certain culture. Millenials and Generation Xers do not have as strong of a relationship with their parents' country of origin which exacerbates the discomfort they feel when entering ethnic-based masajid. Granted, these mosques have been formed in order to provide comfort and community to the large influx of Muslims that have come from diverse parts of the world to America. While it has successfully accomplished that goal, the catch 22 is that it will not sustain such comfort with future generations while on American soil.

We are indebted to the sacrifices the first generation of American Muslims provided us with, including the infrastructure and community organizing that was required to build our current mosques and Islamic schools.  According to the American-Mosque 2011 report study, in a little over 30 years, they established over 2000 mosques all across the country, and today, only 10% of all Muslims in America attend these mosques.  Sadly, most of the established mosques in America have created a large amount of confusion in the minds of the Millenials and the Generation Xers between what is a cultural practice and what is essential Islam.

The problem we are facing is a subtle one that very few people are aware of. Many Muslims enter the mosque and think that what we see and experience is normal and that this is how a mosque should be, while in reality, what we oftentimes experience in the mosque is nothing more than a cultural interpretation of Islam that does not take into account the American context. We hope the film will inspire people who are unmosqued to feel a sense of responsibility and to take the film to their communities, watch it with them, and have serious discussions as an effort to remedy the dire situation we find ourselves in. We hope the film will move the elder generation to make some needed changes in our mosques in order that we not lose the future generations of Muslims in America.

Unmosqued ::: The Movie ::: Trailer

Many memories of my childhood are of me on the green, soft, carpeted floor of the local mosque. I remember receiving awards for memorizing Qur’an, and also being hit with a belt or stick by my sheikh when I had failed to memorize. The mosque (masjid) has shaped my values, decided who my friends were, and ultimately, gave me a sense of community...until I grew up, that is.

As the years have passed and the hairs on my head have dropped, I’ve wondered and questioned the role of the mosque. More specifically, I wanted an answer to the core question: What is the ideal role of the mosque in the American context?

In order to answer this layered question, so many other topics surrounding "mosque-culture" had to be addressed. Should the Friday sermon be delivered in English or Arabic or Urdu? What should the women's area look like? Should the youth share the mosque space with the adults, or should they create their own, third space, to hang out in? Is the mosque a place for prayer and spiritual growth, or is it required to be something more?

So many mosques in America have the same problems: youth not showing up, lack of funds, ethnocentrism, irrelevant topics not addressing current social problems, inequality in regards to women's rights, etc. Imagine if we saw positive change in the American society influenced and galvanized by communities associated with their local mosques! How vastly different this would be than Islamophobes flooding the media asking,  "Where are all the "moderate" Muslims?"

This film will explore the various functions of the mosque in the American context, who is leading them, where they are going, why the youth are not attending, and most importantly: What is the purpose of the mosque in America- and is it fulfilling it?