In the aftermath of one of the racially divided and prejudicial presidential races in U.S. history, the fear of even greater harm and prejudice toward Muslims is also unprecedented. To counteract this “Islamophobia,” Joshua Seftel brings us “The Secret Life of Muslims.” This new “digital series that uses humor and empathy to confront Islamophobia” actually does much more than that. It educates and entertains while it awakens you to see how truly silly prejudices are. Yes, this is about the Muslim religion (it is a religion, people), but the concept can be applied to any religion and any group of people to whom there are negative stereotypes. “The Secret Life of Muslims” is a brilliant concept that, in under 5 minutes, could change your perspective and views. I told you it was brilliant!
Each week through February, 2017, this series will launch a new episode available on a variety of on-line digital platforms. This innovative distribution model allows viewers to see or listen to these short stories on Vox, The USA TODAY Network, CBS Sunday Morning, and PRI’s THE WORLD. Seftel interviews a wide range of people living in the United States who are Muslim. From comedian Ahmed Ahmed who will have you laughing out loud (Watch his episode here) to female journalist Dena Takruri who will bring to you a keener insight to the difficulties in reporting the news (Watch her episode here), and many other notable public figures such as NYPD Muslim Chaplain Khalid Latif (Watch his episode here) and actor Iqbal Theba, these Muslims who look, talk, and act just like everyone else, tell you their story. Watch, listen, (laugh) and learn.
Seftel explains that, “After such a divisive election, we need to come together to start telling stories that add truth and nuance to what was stoked on the campaign trail.” Seftel knows about prejudice as he recalls facing “… anti-Semitism growing up Jewish in Upstate New York and that stayed with me.” With the anti-Muslim discrimination that is occurring here in the U.S., it is his hope is to create an understanding about the religion and the people. He adds, “…so if we can help create understanding in some small way, that would be a great step.”
With 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, 3.3 million of them living in the United States, this series will definitely create understanding as well as correct misconceptions surrounding the Muslim religion. Thanks to Seftel and the key support from the Ford Foundation/Just Films, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, The New York Community Trust, Pillars Fund, and many more, this uniquely informative and creative concept is free to everyone to see. Here’s the link to view all of the episodes: www.secretlifeofmuslims.com