Interview with Freehaven Masjid in Lawnside, NJ. Photo by Diana Soukhaphonh, courtesy of Scribe Video Center.
Muslim Voices of Philadelphia, an oral history media project that explores the rich and diverse history of Muslim communities in the Philadelphia region, is being screened at Bryn Mawr College. Under the direction of artistic director and 1994 Pew Fellow Louis Massiah, Scribe Video Center has produced a broadcast-length documentary that explores Muslim communities from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that no longer exist in Philadelphia.
Muslim Voices of Philadelphia allows Muslims to tell stories in their own voices, and to respond to the past decade of negative attention focused on their communities, while learning concrete skills in media-making. In a planning process that involved extensive outreach to these communities, funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in 2010 and 2012, Scribe identified groups to create short media pieces—linear documentaries, web-based projects, podcasts, and more—that commemorate personal histories, recount immigrant stories, and speak to the power of the Muslim faith. Outside audiences who view the completed works will gain a better knowledge of Islam and an understanding of the challenges Muslims face in today's world.