Archive for Nebraska

Production Tells Story of a Muslim Woman’s Journey

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by loonwatch

Joshua Fazeli reacts to his sister Rubiya, played by Sarah Siadat, as she tries on a hijab during the The Mixed Blood Theatre Company's production of "Hijab Tube" at the Cold Spring Library Tuesday , April 24 . / Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtimes.com

Joshua Fazeli reacts to his sister Rubiya, played by Sarah Siadat, as she tries on a hijab during the The Mixed Blood Theatre Company’s production of “Hijab Tube” at the Cold Spring Library Tuesday , April 24 . / Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtimes.com

Production tells story of a Muslim woman’s journey

Written by Stephanie Dickrell

COLD SPRING — A unique, touring production that attempts to dispel stereotypes of Muslims in America made a stop at the Cold Spring branch of the Great River Regional Library Tuesday night.

About 40 audience members were treated to a performance of “Hijab Tube,” a production of Minneapolis’ Mixed Blood Theatre. The library has hosted other Mixed Blood productions.

This is the third year “Hijab Tube” has toured the state. It has made stops in Central Minnesota, as well as Iowa, Canada and Nebraska. The tour continues through May 6. The family show has been performed at colleges, community centers, and middle and high schools.

“The reaction (of audiences) has been tremendous,” said Artistic Director Jack Reuler. The majority of attendees around the region had been learning some basics about Islam. For other audience members, it meant seeing themselves — another Muslim person — on stage.

“When they see this play, they see themselves reflected in a positive light,” he said.

The short play follows a 20-year-old Muslim woman’s journey of identity, exploring what it means to be a Muslim in general and what it means to her.

She’s a second-generation immigrant who takes a comparative religion class at her university. She decides to take on the idea of wearing a hijab, a head covering. Her family doesn’t follow the tradition. But the play looks at a variety of ways that Islam and Muslims are seen in America.

The playwright’s premise is that Islam can be separated from the dogma of a certain country’s politics, Reuler said.

“Islam in American really holds the promise of hope,” Reuler said. The play attempts to debunk some myths and draw comparisons and similarities between the Judeo-Christian and Muslim traditions.

“It’s far more of a cultural play than a religious play,” he said.

The cast of the play comes from Muslim families whose roots are in Iran, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia — but all were born in the U.S.

After the play, they stick around to hold a brief question-and-answer session. There are questions about how a mosque works, the role of an Iman and the difference between Islam and a Muslim.

“Having a conversation is really the start,” said Sarah Siadat, who plays the main character Rubiya. She said the sessions afterward are her favorite part.

Barb Omann, an English teacher at Rocori High School, encourages her students to attend out-of-school activities with a global perspective like “Hijab Tube,” and gives them extra credit for doing so.

Andrea Overman, a Rocori 10th-grader, is doing a school report on Malcom X, who converted to Islam. She came to get a different perspective .

“I wanted to get a perspective other than his,” she said.

Dakota City Sign: “Never Trust a Mohamed”

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by loonwatch

Sign says never trust a “Mohamed,” I guess Muhammad Ali is out of the picture. I guessIslamophobia doesn’t exist.

JOURNAL EXCLUSIVE: Mohamed sign in Dakota City stirs controversy

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. — Dakota City councilman Bob Lane whipped up a controversy when he placed a sign on his property reading “Never Trust a Man Named Mohamed.”

Lane, well-known in Dakota City for his strong opinions primarily on local and county government, placed the sign near a multiplex rental unit he owns in the 300 block of North 14th Street, a high-traffic route into the Dakota County town of 1,827. The sign led several residents to lodge complaints at City Hall.

Lane told the Journal he had removed the Mohamed sign after it had been up for more than a week and replaced it midafternoon Monday with a holiday message. He didn’t specify what the Mohamed name referenced.

“It is freedom of speech. Whenever we have a problem in the nation, the first name, the middle name or the last name is often Mohamed,” said Lane, a multi-term councilman who was re-elected this year.

Kathy Bruyere lives in South Sioux City and owns rental property in Dakota City near the sign.

“I find this very offensive,” Bruyere said. “We have a lot of East African workers who come to Tyson (Foods packing plant), and they are going to see this every day. A city councilman should not be representing the city of Dakota City in this manner. It is a manner that promotes hate and fear.”

Bruyere said she called the city of Dakota City in the morning and heard there had been several complaints. Yet, the city has no control over the sign because it is on private land and is an expression of free speech.

John Fickler of Dakota City said the Mohamed reference was mystifying in his circle of friends. Fickler said it is unclear whether the name reference was general or specific. Others wondered whether the reference was to a man named Mohamed who perhaps didn’t pay rent to Lane or the prophet (commonly spelled Muhammad) who is central in the founding of the Islam religion.

Some of Lane’s previous messages have criticized Dakota County government decisions, and others have been humorous or seasonal.

“Sometimes they are on local politics, whatever hits the moment. We haven’t quite figured (the new) one out yet,” Fickler said.

A person who lives in Lane’s complex with the sign said the city councilman has a right to express his opinion but worried that people might think the Mohamed reference came from one of the renters and retaliate against them.

Others said they thought the Lane reference was to the Prophet Muhammad and will stir prejudice, while some said there are problems with Islam, since some followers are openly hostile to Christians.