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?