Documentary on Muslim school promotes understanding

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Fordson High School in Dearborn, Mich., is similar to many high schools in the state of Oklahoma. The students are energetic and boisterous on occasion, the faculty and staff are supportive of the students and the football team is a source of pride and enthusiasm for the entire school. The story of that school is told in the documentary film “Fordson” that was made by a talented Arab American filmmaker, Rashid Ghazi. Dearborn, Mich., was the site of a large Ford plant in the early decades of the last century and thousands of Arab immigrants, the majority of whom were Muslims, came to work there.

And that community, we are told, is now home to the largest concentration of Muslims in the U.S. Oklahomans should take note that no efforts have been made to introduce Sharia law into the Dearborn municipal code. The images of Dearborn include a variety of small businesses that cater to the Muslims and it explained that those businesses helped to reinvigorate that community after the Ford plant closed years ago.

The story contained in the movie is a familiar one, high school athletes who are supported by family and an inspirational coach, a school principal who can be stern, and a game against a rival team at the end of the season. But the majority of the football team at Fordson and the coach and principal are all Muslims, and while the players struggle during practice to not eat or drink during the daylight hours in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, that is the only discernible difference between this and any other story of a high school football team in the American Heartland.