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Muslims in America

A multi-platform storytelling initiative revealing the forgotten history of Muslims in America, from the 16th century to the present day

Muslims in America [w/t] is the first multi-media project to explore the historical roots of Islam in the United States, and reveal the many ways that American Muslims have shaped the nation.

Through a digital storytelling campaign, educational website and broadcast documentary series, Muslims in America will tell a surprising story played out against the backdrop of American history, and changing attitudes towards race, religion and citizenship in the U.S.

We begin with the first Muslims to arrive in North America as slaves and settlers, and trace the waves of migration and conversion that have made the Muslim population in the U.S. today the most diverse in the world. 

Interweaving past and present, the project will tell an epic narrative through the stories of remarkable individuals – both famous and less well known – told using their own words, and brought to life through interviews, location shooting, archival footage and animation. 

Supported by an ambitious engagement campaign, Muslims in America will leave its audience with a clear understanding of how Islam is part of America’s shared history, while raising timely questions about what it means to be American, and the kind of society America should be.

Creative Team:

Series Producer, Samia Khan is an award-winning filmmaker and expert in digital storytelling. She is currently Director of Partnerships and lead producer with MediaStorm, an Emmy-award winning production company. She is a member of Muslim Women in T.V. and Film, Asian-Americans in Documentary, and Brown Girls Doc Mafia, the world’s largest organization of women of color in film.

Series Producer, Llewellyn Smith has contributed to several landmark PBS series, including Eyes On The Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years; as series editor for the PBS history series American Experience, he played a key role in the origination, development, and acquisition of more than 70 programs on American history. Smith was project director for the Peabody and Emmy award-winning series Africans In America: America’s Journey Through Slavery, and was a producer on the PBS series RACE: The Power Of An Illusion.

Executive Producer, Graham Judd has over 25 years experience creating award-winning documentaries for the BBC, ABC, National Geographic, Discovery and History. For PBS, he has developed and delivered many critically acclaimed projects, including African American Lives with Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Graham began his career at the BBC, before moving to New York to work on Muslims, a PBS Frontline and ABC News co-production, exploring the diversity of Muslim experience around the world.

Project advisors include:
Zaheer Ali, Oral Historian, Brooklyn Historical Society
Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures,Harvard University
Zain Abdullah, Associate Professor of Religion, Temple University
Sylvia Chan-Malik, Associate Professor, American and Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
Edward E. Curtis IV, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Indiana
Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Professor of Religion & Humanities, Reed College
Michael Gomez, Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University
Zareena Grewal, Associate Professor of American Studies, Religious Studies, and Anthropology, Yale University
Sally Howell, Director of the Center for Arab American Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Peter Manseau, Religion Curator, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History
Hussein Rashid, Independent Scholar, founder of Islamicate, L3C
Denise Spellberg, Associate Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas-Austin
Richard Brent Turner, Professor of African-American Religious History, University of Iowa
Development of Muslims in America is being generously supported by Hassan and Rasha Elmasry, The Pillars Fund and The Doris Duke Building Bridges Program.

Associated Members

Graham Judd, Independent Filmmaker