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Film Project Empowers Muslim Youth To Tell Their Own Stories

A new film project empowers young, U.S. Muslims to change the media dialogue by joining it.
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The application for the Muslim Youth Voices Project asks, “What inspires you to tell stories?”

With a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is launching a series of free, intensive, seven-day film-making workshops in six U.S. cities for Muslim youth aged 12-18 from all backgrounds.

“It’s incredibly important to find ways to add authentic voices to the national dialogue on race, culture, and religion.” says Kar Yin Tham, Director of Education & Innovation at CAAM. “Otherwise, if we remain media bystanders, we’ll lose a part of ourselves and our history in the larger American landscape.”

The workshops, say organizers, will give Muslim-American youth the opportunity to learn film-making techniques and to develop their storytelling skills at a time when many feel there are few accurate and positive portrayals of the Muslim-American experience. A 2011 study found that the majority of U.S. Muslims felt it was difficult to be a Muslim in America after the attacks on 9/11, and that a significant number of Muslim Americans reported negative experiences, like being called offensive names or being singled by authorities.