Set in Naperville, Illinois, Obstacle Course explores reactions to a proposed Islamic Community Center on the site of a beloved local landmark. Allyship, municipal politics, and Islamophobia all intersect in this head-on collision between Not in My Backyard fear mongering, well-intentional liberalism, and the peaceful practice of faith.

Obstacle Course was adapted from Jamil Khoury's full-length stage play Mosque Alert, commissioned and produced by Silk Road Rising in 2016, directed by Edward Torres.

The Four Hijabs is an animated short film that explores the multiple meanings of four hijabs mentioned in 16 Qur'anic verses and interprets then through an Arab Muslim feminist lens:

The Four Hijabs builds upon the groundbreaking work of the late Moroccan feminist writer and sociologist Fatima Mernissi. The screenplay, written by Jamil Khoury with Dr. Manal Hamzeh, is inspired by ideas in Hamzeh's book Pedagogies of DeVeiling: Muslim Girls and the Hijab Discourse (Information Age Publishing, 2012).

Multi Meets Poly: Multiculturalism and Polyculturalism Go on a First Date is a thought-provoking and often-humorous reflection on the theoretical and practical differences between two powerful social ideas: multiculturalism and polyculturalism.

By personifying these ideas as human characters-one male, one female-and by endowing each character with profession rivalry, intellectual one-upmanship, and sexual tension, a would-be romantic evening becomes an intriguing vehicle for exploring American interpretations of pluralism, cultural interchange, and diversity.

The Imam & the Homosexual probes the "strange bedfellows" political alliance between Imam Mustafa Khan (played by Khurram Mozaffar), spiritual leader of a besieged Naperville, Illinois mosque, and Carl Baker (played by Nicholas Cimino), the gay son of the imam's chief nemesis. As Imam Mustafa struggles to reconcile his support for civil rights with his religious and cultural objections to homosexuality, Carl imagines the Muslim and LGBTQ communities joining forces against their common enemies.

The Imam and the Homosexual was created as part of an interactive online new play development and civic engagement process for Jamil Khoury’s full-length stage play Mosque Alert.

Sacred Stages: A Church, A Theatre, and A Story tells the unique and inspiring story of the relationship between the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple—Chicago's oldest Christian congregation—and Silk Road Rising, a theatre company founded in response to 9/11.

A shared commitment to storytelling, racial and economic justice, and LGBTQ inclusion characterizes this profound partnership between a religious community and a secular theatre.

Includes interviews with:

Rev. Philip Blackwell, Malik Gillani, Cheryl Hamada, Jann Ingmire, Jamil Khoury, Rev. Claude King, Michael Leech, Jonni Miklos, Adriana Sevahn Nichols, Megha Ralapati, David Rhee, and Brenda Russell

The Balancing Arab tells the story of Hanan (played by Amira Sabbagh), a politically active Arab American, and Heidi, her Irish American personal fitness trainer (played by Leslie Frame). Set in a downtown Chicago gym during a training session, the mood turns tense as the two women recount an event at the Arab American Cultural Center a few nights earlier -- an event at which the evening’s political discourse got filtered through decidedly different lenses.

The Balancing Arab explores conflicts that exist within and between political cultures and what happens when messaging gets stranded in context and lost in translation.

The film is dedicated to a vision of whiteness that is anti-racist and rooted in economic justice.

Silk Road Rising's Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness is a documentary film that explores the complicated relationship of Arab and Slavic immigrants to American notions of whiteness.

Not Quite White expands the American conversation on race by zeroing in on whiteness as a constructed social and political category, a slippery slope that historically played favorites, advantaging Northern and Western European immigrants over immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East. Inspired by Jamil Khoury’s short play WASP: White Arab Slovak Pole, Not Quite White integrates scenes from WASP alongside interviews with Arab American and Polish American academics who reflect upon contested and probationary categories of whiteness and the use of anti-Black racism as a “whitening” dye.

In Not Quite White, director Jamil Khoury draws upon his own Arab (Syrian) and Slavic (Polish and Slovak) heritage as the lens through which to investigate the broader issue of immigrants achieving whiteness and hence qualifying as “fully American.” The film advances ongoing conversations about the meanings of whiteness and efforts aimed at redefining whiteness.

Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness is dedicated to a vision of whiteness that is anti-racist and rooted in economic justice.

both/and trades the shackles of “either/or” for a non-dualistic worldview. Khoury's semi-autobiographical video play explores and explodes the persistent strains between American and Arab, Arab American and gay, for-profit and not-for-profit, and assorted other “disputed territories.”

both/and was adapted from Jamil Khoury's stage play WASP: White Arab Slovak Pole, commissioned and produced in 2010 by Silk Road Theatre Project as part of The DNA Trail: A Genealogy of Short Plays about Ancestry, Identity, and Utter Confusion, directed by Steve Scott in association with the Goodman Theatre.

Inspired by the 2010 “ground zero mosque” controversy in New York City, playwright and Silk Road Rising’s Founding Co-Executive Artistic Director, Jamil Khoury, set out to investigate resistance to the building of mosques in communities across the U.S., and the intersections of Islamophobia, zoning, and public policy. Khoury developed a multi-tiered process that included digital and live theatre components, and invited virtual and live audiences to weigh in on artistic decision-making and matters of civic importance. This first-of-its-kind initiative crowd sourced its creative processes and encouraged open, unfiltered public dialogue.

The Mosque Alert project ultimately generated its own constellation of works, including a seres of videos and video essays, multiple college and university productions, a professional world premiere production, and continued engagement with individual videos, particularly, The Imam and the Homosexual and Obstacle Course, which are still screened and discussed through our Creative Conversations series.

Take action. Sign up for our newsletter.
Subscription Form
Silk Road Cultural Center is a dba of Gilloury Institute, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization
© 2024 Silk Road Cultural Center