It’s great that we now have a teen sitcom about a Pakistani Muslim exchange student who changes the lives of his host family in small-town Wisconsin. Now all we need to finish the job of promoting understanding about the Muslim experience in America, is to have sitcoms featuring Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Egyptian, Senegalese, Indian, and Indonesian Muslims–plus a dozen or so other groups represented in the United States, all of whom have their own ethnic and spiritual identities.
Impossible? The next best thing may be the short film contest that kicked off yesterday.

Sponsored by the Muslim advocacy organization, One Nation For All, the contest’s mandate is “stories, not stereotypes,” interpreting story to mean comedy, drama, or documentary, each judged in their own category, with another category for young filmmakers. Judges for the contest include Danny Glover and Mariane Pearl (played recently by Angelina Jolie in the movie “A Mighty Heart”). The top prize is $20,000, but if the winner can turn their film into an audition for Hollywood, the prize will be just a down payment.

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