DER Documentary

An American Mosque

Film Title launch preview watch a preview

by David Washburn
color, 27 min, 2013
in English and Punjabi
with English subtitles


NEW! Institutional Streaming Options:

I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
See pricing information and conditions

An American Mosque is a film about Islam in America, religious intolerance, and the interfaith response to an historic hate-crime. When the Islamic Center of Yuba City, California, was burned to the ground in 1994, it was the first arson to destroy a mosque in US history.  At the time, this incident was largely ignored. Now, decades later, this symbolically important story is revisited. Late one night, arsonists broke into the newly-constructed mosque, doused prayer rugs with gasoline, then lit the building ablaze. The mosque was reduced to ashes and an investigation ensued.

For the first time, the film's characters respond publicly to the crime, speaking passionately about their hope and heartbreak, as well as their continued faith in religious freedom for all Americans. Community members of other religions echo their words, expressing compassion, support, and a shared desire for justice in the wake of the arson. An American Mosque frames this small town story as representative of a larger struggle to protect America's core values. The film's narrators speak to Muslims' trust in the Constitution and how the rebuilding of their mosque is a lived testament to religious liberty.

An American Mosque provides a valuable look through the eyes of one community of people who join together to overcome hate. This film beautifully demonstrates the story of triumph, hope and activism that followed a painful act of religious intolerance. A valuable resource for reducing prejudice and improving intergroup relations.” — The Southern Poverty Law Center
“This is a moving and powerful film. The Pluralism Project has followed the story for 20 years,since a fire left the minaret and dome of the new mosque lying in ashes. Particularly compelling are the voices of those in the farming community who built the mosque and then picked themselves up to build it again. I really love this film.” — Prof. Diana Eck, The Pluralism Project, Harvard University
“What comes through best in An American Mosque is the resilience of the Muslim community and its belief that hate crimes are no match for the nobler aspects of the human condition.” — The Sacramento Bee
An American Mosque is a beautiful and invaluable film. It documents a crucial history, not just for one religion, but for all faiths. It elegantly conveys our shared humanity, our commitment to religious freedom, and how we can learn from history so it is not repeated. Now more than ever, we need films like An American Mosque on television.” — Michael Wolfe, Film Producer, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Festival of Tolerance, Zagreb, Croatia, 2013
Little Rock Film Festival, USA, 2013
DOCNYC, New York City, NY, USA 2012
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, USA, 2012
Asian American International Film Festival, New York, USA, 2012
Santa Cruz Film Festival, USA, 2012
Cleveland Film Festival, USA, 2012
Atlanta Film Festival, USA, 2012
CAAMFest (San Francisco), USA, 2012
Athens International Film & Video Festival, USA, 2012

TV Broadcasts
Multiple Broadcasts on PBS TV, 2014-2016

Related Resources
Film Site

Related Films
(un)veiled: Muslim Women Talk About Hijab
Fashioning Faith
Mystic Mass
Islam: Empire of Faith

Catalog of New Films DER new films catalog cover
Join Our Mailing List
Suport DER
Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts