Arts-Based Intervention on Islamophobia Spurs Dialogue

By Imagining America | February 03, 2017

ShoulderToShoulder-classphotoA University of Washington Bothell class that produced a video as a final project and a statement against Islamophobia saw it go viral on Facebook. “Shoulder to Shoulder” was posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, on the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences page and by Friday it had more than 100,000 views. The video uses all 43 students in “Arts In Context: Contemporary Muslim Artists,” a course taught by Anida Yoeu Ali, artist-in-residence in the School of IAS.

The students chose the form of a Mannequin Challenge, in which players remain in frozen image tableaux while a moving camera films them, to address the violence experienced by Muslim communities on and off our campus: (Shoulder to Shoulder #mannequinchallenge video:

Student’s statement on the project:

We are a class of 43 students of diverse races, religious beliefs, and political affiliations, attending the University of Washington Bothell. Brought together through “Arts In Context: Contemporary Muslim Artists” a course taught by IAS faculty member Anida Yoeu Ali, we have been inspired to bring a deeper awareness and compassion in challenging Islamophobia and the rise of anti-racial biases. In class, we discussed how the recent spike in hate crimes and campaign promises about bans and the registration of Muslims continue a post-9/11 fear of “terrorism,” with roots in Orientalist concepts. Our class final project was a challenge put forth by our professor to address the ways in which Muslim bodies engage crisis.

DSC-0059Instead of dividing up individually or in small groups, we decided to come together as one large collective creating one ambitious project. We chose to perform a mannequin challenge titled “Shoulder to Shoulder” to address the violence experienced by Muslim communities on and off our campus. Five times a day 1.6 billion Muslims around the world stand “shoulder to shoulder” in peaceful prayer. We want to show that Muslims belong here as much as any of us. We will stand with them in solidarity and we will protect one another from harm and hate. These are our classmates, friends, neighbors, veterans and fellow Americans. Our project counters the national divide between race, religion, and politics as we hope to bring together our communities to reclaim the American value of prizing humanity over hate. Join us in unifying our nation to denounce hate and instead spread hope, compassion, and understanding.

#HumanityOverHate  #HuskiesStandStrong