Posted by: Date: April 8, 2013 In: ,

It was reported in 2010 that more than half of Americans had never met a Muslim. Yet hate crimes against Muslims rose 50 percent that year–the same year Florida pastor Terry Jones threatened to burn the Quran.

Pacific Lutheran University’s award-winning MediaLab production team addresses this growing tide of anti-Islamic sentiment in its new documentary: Beyond Burkas and Bombers: Anti-Muslim Sentiment in America, which will premiere April 11, at 7 p.m. at Pacific Lutheran University’s Studio Theater and online at www.plu.edu/soac. The premiere is part of the 2013 SOAC Focus Series.

Since 2011, the MediaLab documentary team has traveled around the country, from Tacoma to New York City to Washington, D.C. in an effort to break down barriers and shatter stereotypes that many North Americans may have about Muslims.

“The statistic that prompted us to pursue this topic was from a 2010 Time magazine poll that reported that 62 percent of Americans claim to have never met a Muslim. After reading that, we knew our main objective of the film needed to be the simple act of introducing the audience to a Muslim,” MediaLab student producer JuliAnne Rose said. “I think it is this personal connection that makes our film so different–it’s more than just an analysis of the issue.”

The documentary adds many unique perspectives, including interviews with Muslim comedians Dean Obeidallah and the Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi who explore how comedy might be used as a strategy to mitigate the swelling tide of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Audience members, both in the theater and online, are encouraged to participate in this global conversation. During the event, lend your voice to the conversation on Twitter with #beyondbombers. After the documentary stay for a panel discussion that will further dissect the thoughts presented in the film.