"The Education Of Mohammad Hussein" is an intimate look at how the largest Muslim community in the U.S. responds to the provocations of an antiIslamic preacher. Through the eyes of children, the film examines what it is like to come of age as a Muslim in the United States a decade after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
- There is an entire generation of American Muslim children who do not know a world before September 11th. They have not experienced a country largely unaware of or neutral about Islam. Instead, their faith is scrutinized and patriotism questioned, even before they can grasp these very adult concepts.
As hate crimes against Muslims have increased in the United States, some communities - like that of affluent Dearborn, Michigan - have faced this "Islamaphobia" head-on, attempting to demystify their religion by emphasizing all that they have in common with a largely white, Christian America - even going so far as appearing in reality TV shows designed to soften their image among the general population.
Other, less visible pockets of Muslim Americans prefer to associate with one another, unwilling or afraid to integrate and assimilate into a country that is openly suspicious of them. These communities prefer to keep to themselves - living quietly, sending their children to strict Islamic schools, studying the Koran and using the local mosque as the center of all social interactions. These micro societies stay purposely under the radar and avoid trouble... but every once in awhile, trouble comes looking for them.
"The Education of Mohammad Hussein" takes the viewer inside a tightly knit Muslim community in the economically depressed Detroit-Hamtramck neighborhood, focusing on the children who attend a traditional Islamic school, Al-Ikhlas. The film captures a year where the kids and their neighborhood have an unwelcome visitor, notorious Koran-burning Florida preacher Terry Jones, who arrives to provoke them with hateful rhetoric and anti-Muslim demonstrations. How the community reacts to this challenge is the heart of the film, which gives a quietly searing view of a post 9-11 America that is struggling to live up to its promise of tolerance and civil justice for all.