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Movie Review: Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football

“Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football” (2011) is a documentary film about a high school’s football team, which was directed by Rashid Ghazi and released in 2011. It discusses various issues of the Muslim community in the United States. Ghazi explored all over the U.S. to understand the reviews of American people about Islamic culture, and then he decided to create a documentary. In addition, Ruth Leitman wrote the story of the documentary to create realistic scenes. The film shows the day-to-day problems and communal issues of the Arab population in Dearborn city, Michigan. Ghazi added realistic interviews in the film in order to take audiences’ attention about various challenges and obstacles that the community faces. Moreover, the documentary follows a football team of Fordson High School, Dearborn and discusses the Muslim players’ struggles (Brunick, “Muslim High School Football Players Stay Close to Home”). The following paper analyzes the film “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football” and provides its review.

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In the documentary, Rashid Ghazi discusses the lifestyles of Arab-American people in Dearborn city of Michigan. The first part of the film shows how Arabian immigrants came to the city a hundred years ago and started their works in Ford motor factories. Also, the movie shows the current lives of Arabian families and compares it with other American communities. For example, Ghazi illustrates that usual Americans leave home when they are eighteen years old, whereas Arab-Americans stay with their parents till marriage (Brunick, “Muslim High School Football Players Stay Close to Home”). Additionally, the director describes that Dearborn city has the majority of the Muslim population in comparison with the other cities of the United States. Therefore, the Fordson High School has about 98 percent Muslim students (Brunick, “Muslim High School Football Players Stay Close to Home”), so, it follows Muslim rules and regulation. Ghazi shows the hard works and determinations of the school’s football team to win a match against another American school team. Moreover, the author describes the racial challenges of Muslim students by showing live videos of various football matches. For instance, during the matches, often white American football fans insult Arab-American players by using various abusing words, such as camel jokey, terrorist, etc (Brunick, “Muslim High School Football Players Stay Close to Home”). Furthermore, Ghazi shows various day-to-day issues of Muslim young people and their police charges. The film defines that often, in police cases, Muslim youths are innocent. However, after 9/11 incident police suspects common Arab-American people and take them to the police station for interrogation. Ghazi makes this issue more realistic by proving examples of Muslim young men of Dearborn, Osama Sabhi Abulhassan and Ali Houssaiky. A few years ago, these two young boys started a business with mobile phones to earn pocket money. However, the law enforcement department noticed their activities and suspected them as terrorists. So, they arrested them, but could not find them guilty in the end. Also, the documentary shows the views of Fordson School football coaches about various incidents. The head coach Fouad Zaban considers that Arab-American football players need to face different alternative challenges in their careers. For instance, sometimes they need to play during the Ramadan month, which is the fasting month for Muslim religious people. So, such obstacles may make players weak, but still, they do their best to meet the demands of the football fans. Besides, Zaban’s elder brother, Yusuf Berry and other ex-students believe that football is a traditional sport for Fordson School and Muslim students give their best performance every year to encourage the community (Stewart, “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football and the American Dream”). However, the principal of the school, Imad Fadlallah considers that after 2001, September 11 terrorist incident; the community had a bad reputation in all over America (Stewart, “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football and the American Dream”).

Ghazi describes the present conditions of Muslim communities by proving various examples of American government employees. He added the interview of the Wayne county retired sheriff, Ron Amen. He thinks that thousands of innocent Arab-Americans including the well-reputed private organizations were abused due to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist incident in 2001. For example, the Arab American News company founder, Osama Siblani feels pity that his organization got hundreds of phone call threatening because the Newsagency is run by the Arabian community. Also, some people abused him as his first name is Osama (Stewart, “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football and the American Dream”). In addition, Ghazi showed some news headlines of American newspaper that indicate the fear and terrors of Arab-American families after the 9/11 incident, such as “Arab neighbors are on edge”, “Local Arabs fear setback” etc (Brunick, “Muslim High School Football Players Stay Close to Home” ). Moreover, the last scenes of the documentary show the sentiments of Arab-American football players to win the football tournament during Ramadan. The coach, Zaban instructed his team to inflame anger by a good performance in the match. Ghazi shows that Fordson High School team prays to Allah before the match starts and all players worked hard to win the tournament. Finally, the team won the match and one player, Bilal Abu Omarah exclaimed that “I would not leave here for the world” (Brunick, “Muslim High School Football Players Stay Close to Home”). Thus, the documentary shows the pains, struggles, and challenges of Arab-Americans (Brunick, “Muslim High School Football Players Stay Close to Home”).

To conclude, Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football is a documentary film about football match and Arab-American community. Rashid Ghazi shows the real day-to-day lives of Muslim communities in the United States. He included various interviews, news reports and past video records in the documentary to take audiences’ attention. Moreover, various people including school principals, retired sheriff, professors and other experts of Dearborn city explained the challenges of Muslim communities in America. Furthermore, Ghazi shows the religious traditions and positive beliefs of Arab-Americans. Thus, the film guides people to understand the sentiments of innocent American Muslim communities.

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