By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Cincinnati's Muslim community is hoping a new documentary filmed here will dispel myths and misconceptions about Islam.
The 40-minute film - A Visit to a Mosque in America: Understanding Islam and the American Muslim Community - debuted Sunday afternoon to a nearly 300-person audience, including U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati.
Washington, D.C.-based Astrolabe Pictures shot the production, as well as a 15-minute feature titled The Art of a Mosque, at the center last summer
"It's not just about the center in Cincinnati, but about Muslims across the country," said Danya Karram, who is on the center's board. "It has a universal message. It talks about the commonalities of all people."
The film includes testimonials from members, who discuss topics ranging from the importance of prayer to post- Sept. 11 fears to how women are viewed. The video also gives audiences a tour of the center's mosque, academy and community center.
BUY THE VIDEO
To purchase a copy of the video, contact the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati at 755-3280 or Astrolabe at 1-800-392-7876.
"I think Islam is one of the least understood religions in the United States," said Derek vanAmerongen of Evendale.
The Catholic father of three has Muslim neighbors and was featured in the video.
"There's lots and lots for people to learn about," Mr. vanAmerongen said. "I hope it reaches the people it needs to."
Many of the center's 200 families purchased the video as part of the outreach sponsor program. The copies they buy will be distributed to churches, synagogues, public libraries, schools and other agencies in an effort to educate the public.
Jamal and Iman Rashed of Anderson Township, who are among the estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Greater Cincinnati Muslims, brought their children - 11-year-old Sarah and 14-year-old Zaid - to see the film. The family hoped schools across the country would use the film as an educational tool.
"This will help bridge the gap (between religions)," the 45-year-old father said. "I think it will help change the misconceptions. ... We're all neighbors"
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
Dr. King's message still touching lives
Events honoring King
Text of King's "Dream' speech
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Real-life 'West Wing' drama: Indian Hill native at Bush's side
Gay man's slaying suspected hate crime
More jail time for gun crimes
PETER BRONSON COLUMN
Yavneh gets an 'A-plus'
AROUND THE TRISTATE
Salesman puts career on hold to serve country
Some students 'twice exceptional'
Film made here about Islam, Muslims in U.S.
Tristate A.M. Report
Obituary: Conry-Dressman, PR specialist
Obituary: Robert Froehlich, composing room foreman
Good News: Music students honored
Hometown Heroes: Moms reach out to help many kids
You Asked For It
Towns face storm water deadline
City seeking to keep tenants
Pro-Life Procession and Rally is Saturday
Warren traffic tie-ups studied
Say 'antiques,' crowds come
Kmart outlet one of shortest-lived
Ohio Moments: Church established before state
Principal assistants targeted in budget cuts
Non-tenured faculty more common at IU
Sunday local news stories