An American Mosque is a timely documentary about religious freedom and the struggle against intolerance set in a rural California town.  Sparked by the destruction of a mosque, we witness how a farming community responds to hate through painful but ultimately positive discussions about the perception of Islam in America and our responsibility to defend everyone’s constitutional right to worship.

When the Islamic Center of Yuba City was burned to the ground in 1994, it became the first hate-crime to destroy a mosque in U.S. history.  On a warm summer night, arsonists broke into the newly-constructed sanctuary, doused prayer rugs with gasoline, then lit the building ablaze. The mosque was reduced to ashes. In shock, everyone asked: Why would someone attack a community’s house of worship?  For the first time in An American Mosque, the film’s characters share their stories – speaking passionately about hard work and anticipation, heartbreak and fear, triumph and hope. Members of other faiths echo their words, expressing compassion, support, and a shared desire for justice in the wake of the arson. Although deeply saddened, the community’s spirit was not shaken. They wanted to show that all Americans, including Muslims, are entitled to a religious sanctuary and the right to practice their faith openly. The community re-doubled their efforts and constructed a second mosque in the footprint of the first. This story went largely unpublicized at the time of the fire.  Now, twenty years later, it is being widely shared for the first time.

washburn-bnaiProducer, David Washburn, is a documentary filmmaker from Oakland, California. For over a decade, he has focused on films and oral history projects that amplify underrepresented voices, including Latino shipyard workers during WWII, Sikh communities in California’s agricultural heartland, and Muslim American veterans. He is the recipient of grants from California Humanities, Center for Cultural Innovation, Pacific Pioneer Fund, and U.S. Department of Education, among others.

David is often asked, “Why, as a non-Muslim, did you make An American Mosque?” His response is simple: Artists of all backgrounds should produce work that sheds light on  injustice and reveals the common humanity and gentleness that transcends our superficial differences. History shows this practice supports positive change in civil rights struggles, gender equality, and interfaith work.

CONTACT: david (at)




None Scheduled


PBS Television Broadcasts 2014-16

3,674 Telecasts / 266 Channels / 127 Markets / 41 States / 76% of nation covered

Film Festivals
Cleveland Film Festival
Atlanta Film Festival
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
CAAMFest (San Francisco)
Asian American International Film Festival (New York)
Athens International Film & Video Festival (Ohio)
Little Rock Film Festival, Arkansas
Santa Cruz Film Festival
Festival of Tolerance, Zagreb, Croatia

UMass Boston
Zaytuna College
Cabrillo College
Yuba College
Religion Communicators Council Conference
San Francisco Interfaith Council
Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Yuba Sutter Interfaith Council
Abraham’s Tent, B’nai Israel, Sacramento, CA
Muslim Community Association
South Bay Islamic Association
West Valley Islamic Association
Yaseen Foundation
Islamic Cultural Center of Northen California
Evergreen Islamic Center
Lighthouse Mosque
IMAAM Center, Washington DC



“Today’s must see.” – KCET, Los Angeles

An American Mosque is a stunningly beautiful documentary.” – Capital Public Radio

“What comes through best in An American Mosque is the resilience of the Muslim community
and its belief that hate crimes are no match for the nobler aspects of the human condition.”

– The Sacramento Bee

An American Mosque provides a valuable look through the eyes of one community of people who join together
to overcome hate. This film beautifully demonstrates the story of triumph, hope and activism that followed
a painful act of religious intolerance. A valuable resource for reducing prejudice and improving intergroup relations.”

– The Southern Poverty Law Center

“This is a moving and powerful film. The Pluralism Project has followed the story for 20 years,since a fire left
the minaret and dome of the new mosque lying in ashes. Particularly compelling are the voices of those in the
farming community who built the mosque and then picked themselves up to build it again.  I really love this film.”

– Prof. Diana Eck, The Pluralism Project, Harvard University

An American Mosque is a beautiful and invaluable film.  It documents a crucial history,
not just for one religion, but for all faiths.  It elegantly conveys our shared humanity, our
commitment to religious freedom, and how we can learn from history so it is not repeated.
Now more than ever, we need films like An American Mosque on television.”

– Michael Wolfe, Film Producer, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet


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