Muslim Playwrights Focus On Universal Themes

October 1, 2009

Author: Omar Sacirbey

Source: Religion News Service

Let’s start with a disclaimer: the Islamic prayers, Urdu expressions and youth-culture slang (like FOB, as in “Fresh Off Boat") which pepper the new play, “The Domestic Crusaders,” may not be familiar to all American audiences.

But if they’re paying attention, playwright Wajahat Ali says, they’ll look beyond the story of a Muslim-American family and maybe even see traces of themselves in the characters.

“This is not a Muslim play. This is a family drama,” said Ali, whose play opened Sept. 11 for a one-month run at New York’s Nuyorican Poets Cafe. “I wanted it to be authentic but universal.”

“The Domestic Crusaders” is the latest in a string of stage plays written by Muslim Americans, and they’re receiving critical praise at a time when many Americans, still affected by the 9/11 terror attacks, view Muslims negatively.

This fledgling Muslim theater scene suggests an evolution among U.S. Muslims, whose immigrant forbears, like other newcomers, routed their children into financially secure professions like law or medicine and away from the arts and media.

See also: Islam, Arts/Media