Silk Road Rising Receives ArtPlace America Grant
ArtPlace America—a collaboration of a number of foundations, federal agencies and financial institutions—focuses on creative placemaking: projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development.
What is Mosque Alert and why is it needed? Mosque Alert is an artistic & civic engagement project that dramatizes the difficulties Muslims face across the country, due to Islamophobia and cultural biases, when attempting to build houses of worship. It began as an online civic engagement project in 2011 to serve as an artistic response to the “Ground Zero” mosque controversy in New York City.
Over the next eighteen months, the ArtPlace America grant will allow us to extend the reach of our work. Last summer, Jamil Khoury and Malik Gillani—the founders of Silk Road Rising—found the ideal site for their fictional mosque: The Old Nichols Library in downtown Naperville. Working with ten community partners in downtown Naperville, we will use Mosque Alert to generate community-wide conversations that will examine fears associated with the building of this fictional mosque.
Silk Road Rising has been working in Naperville for the past two years on the theme of Muslim American integration. This video, by Naperville Community Television 17 (NCTV17), documents one of our most recent presentations at the Naperville Public Library. You can also read an article by Susan Frick Carlman of The Naperville Sun, discussing one of the presentations we recently conducted in Naperville.
This is the first time Silk Road Rising’s artwork is directly being used by a specific neighborhood community. We hope Mosque Alert helps people become aware of their biases toward Muslims and will assist allies who wish to extend their support to the Muslim community. Long-term success will have been achieved if in future deliberations, both in Naperville and around the country, conversations about mosque building move away from anti-Islamic rhetoric toward a thoughtful, civic discourse—one that creates a welcoming community for Muslims. We invite you to engage with Mosque Alert >>