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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.

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.

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