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CAAMFest 2013

American Narrative: The Muslim Protagonist

Special Presentations / Conversation / 90 mins

American Narrative: The Muslim Protagonist

Union Bank Community Room
March 23, 2013 4:00 pm Admission is FREE with proof of one festival event purchase (CAAMFest ticket or receipt) / $5 entry at door / Cash only


Tell your own story or someone will tell it for you. 

AMERICAN NARRATIVE: THE MUSLIM PROTAGONIST is a highlighted conversation at CAAMFest 2013 that uses Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist as a launching point to address relevant issues affecting American Muslims, and by extension many religious groups and communities of color. This discussion will bring together key speakers along with community members to address vital social and political issues, including the disturbing acts of violence against Muslim and Sikh communities, the representation of Muslims in national media, and the rise of Muslim artists, performers and thought leaders.

In a candid and lively conversation, a lineup of distinguished guests including award-winning writer Wajahat Ali, civil rights leader Zahra Billoo, filmmaker David Washburn, and acclaimed performance artist Mark Gonzales, will talk about the essential question: What is our story and how do we tell it?

The panel includes a screening of David Washburn’s short documentary AN AMERICAN MOSQUE and a performance by Mark Gonzales. After the panel, catch the exhilarating documentary Invoking Justice, about the first women’s Jamaat and their tireless fight for equal rights.

Read Wajahat Ali’s interview with THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST writer Mohsin Hamid on his latest work here.

Get your tickets for THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST here.

Watch Mexican & Muslim poet scholar Mark Gonzales perform at TED x here

Watch David Washburn’s insightful documentary about the destruction of a mosque and a community that built it back:

An American Mosque / USA / 2012 / 19 min.
Trailer and Website:


WajahatAliWAJAHAT ALI (Moderator): 

Wajahat Ali is a playwright, attorney, journalist, and humorist from the Bay Area, California. His award winning play, “The Domestic Crusaders,” was published by McSweeney’s in 2011 and is one of the first major plays about the Muslim American experience. His commentaries and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Washington Post, Salon, Huffington Post, Slate, McSweeney’s and CNN. His the lead author of the investigative report “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” produced with Center for American Progress. He is currently writing a pilot for HBO with Dave Eggers. He is co-editing the book “I Speak For Myself: 45 American Men on Being Muslim” which will be released in Summer 2012.


ZahraBillooZAHRA BILLOO (Panelist): 

As a civil rights attorney and the director of the CAIR San Francisco Bay Area office, Zahra Billoo strives to promote justice and understanding. In 2009, Zahra joined CAIR and immediately embraced her roles as community organizer and civil rights advocate. She frequently provides trainings at mosques and universities as part of CAIR’s efforts to empower the community, while building bridges with allies on key civil rights issues. Zahra also represents victims of discrimination and advocates for policy changes that uphold civil rights for all. Her work with CAIR-SFBA has been highlighted in local and national media outlets including NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the Christian Science Monitor, and NPR.


MarkGonzalesMARK GONZALES (Panelist):

Mark Gonzales is a thought leader in using storytelling as a global health strategy. His ability to curate the emotional experience of displacement & dreams into creative text has awarded him invitations to over fifteen countries, with previous clients including: TED(x) talks, Stanford University, Wehdat refugee camp, the United Nations, & HBO Def Poetry. He is often found poetically integrating narrative and medicine via twitter: @WageBeauty

davidwashburnDAVID WASHBURN (Panelist):

David Washburn is a California-based filmmaker interested in cross-cultural and historical subjects that explore issues of shifting identity and collective memory. His practice ranges from documentaries intended for television to experimental works shot on 16mm. In all of his films,Washburn looks to disrupt conventional narratives and elicit questions that open new areas of understanding. He is a recipient of awards from the California Council for the Humanities, Center for Cultural Innovation, Pacific Pioneer Fund, and U.S. Department of Education (Jacob K. Javits Fellowship), among others.

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American Narrative: The Muslim Protagonist

Union Bank Community Room
March 23, 2013 4:00 pm Admission is FREE with proof of one festival event purchase (CAAMFest ticket or receipt) / $5 entry at door / Cash only