Press Releases

CAIR to Release ‘A Prayer Beyond Borders’ Film Featuring Church and Mosque Working to Create Sacred Space for Separated Immigrant Families

Release of film to call for a bi-national day of prayer in San Diego/Tijuana at Friendship Park on October 27th

(SAN DIEGO, CA, 10/4/19) – On Oct. 7, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its Sand Diego chapter (CAIR-San Diego) will release the short film “A Prayer Beyond Borders” on October 7th documenting the first gathering of the Border Church & the Border Mosque as the only space on the US/Mexico border where families separated by discriminatory immigration policies can meet in person. This film is a moving portrait of this unique gathering of faith communities working to give separated families even a moment in which they can be together. 

SEE: A Prayer Beyond Borders Film Link (EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE DATE OCTOBER 7th):
SEE ALSO: Film highlighting interfaith prayer at the U.S.-Mexico border set for release


Over the last few months, the Border Mosque has joined with the Border Church, established in 2011, to create a sacred space for families separated by the U.S. immigration policies. Every weekend, people from throughout the US and Mexico travel to Friendship Park so they can be in the presence of each other, even if they can only touch through the fence. The secondary barrier of the border is open at Friendship Park every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the intention of the Border Church is to keep that space open for families to meet, although it has been closed a number of times during the Trump presidency. 

PRESS CONFERENCE IN SAN DIEGO WITH CLERGY LEADERS – Monday, October 7th, 11:30 am – The Sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church – 2111 Camino Del Rio South San Diego, CA. 92108

The founder of the Border Church, Rev. John Fanestil, said of the film: “As someone who has been doing this work with the Border Church since 2008, this film is the first time we have seen the true essence and spirit of the work we are doing to give families a space to be together who have been separated by our countries immigration policies.”  

Dustin Craun, the executive director of CAIR-San Diego and the producer of the film, said: “It took three film teams in two different countries, and a crew of fifteen to capture this gathering and to give the full respect to the families from throughout the Americas who weekly come together here at the border wall. We hope the film can put a true human face to the daily crisis of family separation unfolding in Tijuana.” 

Of the Muslims featured in the film, it is important to note that the vast majority are Indigenous and Latina Muslims working across the borderlands to serve separated families. This includes Mayte Guttierez of the Latina Muslim Foundation who states in the film, “We are all here in solidarity to show the world that no wall will stop us from being united.” 

Imam Wesley Lebron of 3 Puerto Rican Imam’s stated of his experience at the Border Mosque that, “Being Puerto Rican I could not understand what it’s like to be separated from my family. At the wall you see a child on one side and their parents on the other, or a wife on one side and the husband on the other. It just breaks your heart to see that.” 

Imam Taha Hassane of the Islamic Center of San Diego stated of the Border Church and Border Mosque: “This is a faith-based action that was powerful because of its diversity. It was not only Muslims, it was not only Christians, it was everyone. Having Rev. John on the other side, we felt that we are one community yes we might practice differently, we might believe differently but our hearts are together and we are fighting together for the dignity of humans.”

The film is a production of CAIR-California, MoveOn and Beyond Borders Studios. It was co-directed by Ala’ Khan and Reynaldo Escoto, Dustin Craun is the executive producer and producer of the film.  

Pray Beyond Borders – A Binational Day of Prayer – Sunday, October 27th 

As the multi-faith presence has grown at the border faith leaders have asked how do we bring in even more faith partners, clergy, and faith-rooted activists to draw attention to the space of Friendship Park and the Border Church and the Border Mosque protecting it. Our clergy leaders are calling for a bi-national day of prayer on Sunday, October 27th where we will be joined by indigenous, Muslim, Christian, Jewish leaders to “Pray Beyond Borders.” This event will be filmed or live-streamed to an international audience with the intention of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for a diverse group of issues related to family separation in Tijuana / San Diego. 

The weekend lineup will include: 

  • October – 27th – Pray Beyond Borders – A Binational Day of Prayer 
    • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Friendship Park on US and Tijuana sides of the Border with:
      • Rev. John Fanestil
      • Hosted by Guillermo Navarrete, Dustin Craun, and the Border Church/Border Mosque Teams
      • Imam Taha Hassane 
      • Imam Zaid Shakir 
      • Imam Omar Suleiman 
      • Linda Sarsour 
      • Pastor Seth David Clark 
      • Sonia Garcia of the Latina Muslim Foundation 
  • October 27th – Breaking Borders & Barriers in Our Hearts – 7 pm – The First United Methodist Church of San Diego – Mission Valley 
  • Breaking Borders & Barriers in Our Hearts film & clergy tour – November / December 2019

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: Dustin Craun – Executive Director of CAIR San Diego – – 303-667-4027


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