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Mosque in Morgantown
75-minutes
With its red-and-gold fall colors, Morgantown seems an unlikely battleground for the soul of Islam in America. But that's what happens when journalist Asra Nomani enters a nondescript mosque. Her demand that women be allowed to pray with the men, instead of being relegated to the backroom, ignites a national controversy.
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Mosque in Morgantown

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Running Time
75 minutes

Mosque in Morgantown

With its red-and-gold fall colors and ducks swimming in the river, Morgantown seems an unlikely battleground for the soul of Islam in America. But that’s what happens when journalist Asra Nomani walks up to the door of a nondescript mosque in the West Virginia university town. Her demand that women be allowed to pray with the men, instead of being relegated to the backroom, ignites a national controversy. The Mosque in Morgantown goes behind the sensational rebel in the mosque headlines to present a nuanced, complex portrait of the real tensions in a community that since 9/11 finds itself under a harsh spotlight. Instead of becoming a bio-pic about Nomani’s own personal jihad, what emerges is a remarkably intimate portrait of a community in turmoil.A woman worries Nomani is just a provocateur out to sell books; a blonde Islamic convert switches sides, and an earnest medical student tries to find middle ground between the factions. But the issue is larger than women in mosques. Nomani sees it as the struggle for Muslims to live in the 21st century while being defined by the seventh century. It’s also about the profoundly lonely struggle of taking on one’s own community.On the day of Eid, which should be about communal celebration and mounds of fragrant biryani, Nomani watches the fragile crescent of the moon from a Chuck E. Cheese parking lot. It’s an achingly telling moment in a compelling documentary about the wrenching price of change.

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