Film Screening and Discussion

By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam with Zareena Grewal

We are delighted to welcome Zareena Grewal, filmmaker and professor at Yale University, who will discuss her new documentary, By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam. Grewal is a historical anthropologist and a documentary filmmaker whose research focuses on race, gender, religion, nationalism, and transnationalism across a wide spectrum of American Muslim communities. 

Film Description:

In March 1996, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson), an all-star guard for the Denver Nuggets and an African American Muslim convert, was suspended by the NBA for not standing for the national anthem. Until then, Abdul Rauf had earned national headlines only for his record-setting free-throw shooting game and overcoming Tourrette Syndrome. The sudden NBA suspension and the media interest that immediately followed sparked a national debate about race, politics, religion, and freedom of speech with Abdul Rauf at center-stage. The media controversy pivoted on the question of what it means to be American and un-American, particularly for Muslims, and reveals how so many contemporary political anxieties about patriotism, racism, political correctness, freedom of speech, and Islamophobia have histories deeper than 9/11 and the War on Terror. Tracing his evolution from a media darling and icon of the American dream to an "un-American foreigner," this timely film documents the history of anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia through a simple, poignant story of one man's spiritual journey turned public trial.

This event is free and open to public but reservations are required. Register online or call 202-994-7394. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

 

Sponsored By:

 The Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom, GW Institute for Middle Eastern Studies and the George Washington University Museum & the Textile Museum