By Bothell Reporter staff
BOTHELL — A University of Washington Bothell class that produced a video as a final project and a statement against Islamophobia saw it go viral on Facebook.
“Shoulder to Shoulder” was posted Dec. 14 on the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences’ Facebook page. As of Friday, it had more than 330,000 views.
It was recorded on the campus plaza in the mannequin challenge style, where people remain frozen in action and the camera moves through them. The video can be found online at tinyurl.com/BothellVideo2016.
Scenes of Muslims being hit with a bottle, kicked or splashed with coffee are accompanied by audio from newscasts from 9/11 and hate crimes. Other scenes show a Trump political rally. The video closes with Muslims praying “shoulder to shoulder” surrounded by a protective circle of UW Bothell and Cascadia College students and staff.
The video uses all 43 students in “Arts in Context: Contemporary Muslim Artists,” a course taught by Anida Yoeu Ali, an artist-in-residence.
About a third of the class is Muslim, Ali said. The class looked at works of Muslim artists and ways in which the identity has been distorted, including the lens through which the West views the East.
“This class is about stepping outside your comfort zone,” Ali said.
Three students had major parts in the project: Evan White, videographer and editor; Doha Ashmawi, a Muslim; and Derek Burkett, an Army veteran.
White said that, as a Christian, the class opened his eyes
“Honestly, it was my favorite experience at UW Bothell so far,” White said.
Ashmawi said the class meant a great deal to her.
A turning point was the presidential election that brought feelings of fear and anxiety. Students, regardless of political affiliation, race or religion, felt the need to stand “shoulder to shoulder and stand up against hate,” she said.
Burkett served overseas for almost five years as an explosive disposal technician.
“Given the nature of my position, it is fair to say that I had developed a negative feeling towards people of Middle-Eastern descent. This course greatly helped to alleviate those feelings to some extent,” Burkett said. “As simple as it may be, this shows how strong we can be as a campus in fighting the flood of hatred that has been lingering in our nation for decades.”