Documentary explores story of 1994 Yuba City mosque arson

Yuma-mosque-arsonBy Edward Ortiz, the Sacramento Bee, 5/19/13

In the 26-minute documentary "An American Mosque," filmmaker David Washburn examines the effects of the 1994 torching of a mosque on the Yuba City Muslim community at the time and and since.

The documentary is a timely one, given the widely reported shooting last August at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, where six were killed, and the burning of a mosque in Joplin, Mo., that same month.

The issue of mosques and how they are accepted in communities is a hot-button issue, and likely will remain so, as there are roughly 2,100 mosques in the United States and the number is growing.

"An American Mosque" is less a hard- hitting treatment of who was responsible than it is an intimate and brief look at members of this rural and well-established Muslim community. The film focuses on prosperous, longtime Yuba City farmer Khalid Saeed, who was key in establishing the mosque by donating several acres of his farmland for the building.

The film examines what it means to be American and a follower of Islam in the 21st century, which has a lot to do with acknowledging what was wrought, good or bad, in the 20th.

Transcending fear proved crucial in Yuba City, the film suggests. (Full article)

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