“An Act of Worship” is an attempt to have the viewer experience the Islamophobia faced by some Muslims in the United States. It is not a pretty picture and accentuates the hate and phobia fracturing America where hatred and distrust seems prevalent. Most of this hatred was not created by former President Trump and that man simply harnessed it and hitched a ride on it to political power and once there he augmented it.
The documentary does an excellent job of chronicling the extent of Islamophobia but only does a partial job in explaining why it exists. There is some connection of Islamophobia with the Iran Hostage Crisis, 9/11 and the various wars the United Sates has waged in Muslim countries but I felt the film could have gone deeper in dissecting the roots of Islamic hatred. For example is it the melting pot theory of immigrants prevalent in the United States to blame as Muslims don’t dress like “Americans”. Is it because they have a different religion or come from some societies that have honour killings? Yet the fact is that there are American Muslims who refuse to embrace the melting pot. Does this single them out? As a Canadian we are used to the concept of co-existence as opposed to the assimilationist melting pot yet last year three generations of a Muslim family were killed in London, Ontario as a deranged young man intentionally ran the family down on an evening walk. Chinese have been assaulted during the height of COVID. Black men and people of colour have been assaulted and killed by police. Canada may be only marginally better than the United States.
The story of these mostly young American Muslims deserves to be told but again I wish it had been more fully explained with a why. It is also very singular and negative as is often the case with so many documentaries. Surely the American population as a whole are not Muslim haters but one may say this documentary ignores the voice of their support of the Muslim community. One may also conclude that while there is Islamophobia in this world is there a streak of Americaphobia on the part of the Muslim community or would this be a politically incorrect statement? Phobias feed on phobias.
“An Act of Worship” is part of the 2022 New York Tribeca Film Festival. It has its world premiere on June 9th. It also screens on June 10/12. Unfortunately it is not available on line as part of the Tribeca offering.
You can catch the trailer here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gsfcf7lez5r4q9t/AACzVqcnKpsEMmzsK4xifbSka?dl=0&preview=AAOW_TRAILER_4K_june5_2022.mov
It is directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy.
RKS Film Rating 81/100.