Back in 2005, we featured a story on a new play by a young Muslim American student in the San Francisco Bay Area called The Domestic Crusaders (it was discussed on our second ever podcast). That student was Wajahat Ali, whose talented writing and interview skills led him to help edit the pages of altmuslim.com.
The Domestic Crusaders focuses on a day in the life of a modern Muslim Pakistani-American family of six eclectic, unique members, who convene at the family house to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of the youngest child. With a background of 9-11 and the scapegoating of Muslim Americans, the tensions and sparks fly among the three generations, culminating in an intense family battle as each “crusader” struggles to assert and impose their respective voices and opinions, while still attempting to maintain and understand that unifying thread that makes them part of the same family.
This year, The Domestic Crusaders will make its landmark debut in New York, Off Broadway, at the historic Nuyorican Theater on September 11, 2009 for a 5 week run. The play has received standing ovations from sold out crowds and been praised by international media outlets such as the BBC and San Francisco Chronicle and from personalities such as Academy Award winner Emma Thompson and Macarthur Genius Ishmael Reed.
The Domestic Crusaders is an independent, grassroots production. Already, $15,000 has been raised from donations worldwide for the historic premiere in NYC and only $10,000 more is needed to fulfill Ali’s goal. All contributions are tax deductible since “The Domestic Crusaders” is sponsored by the respected non-profit artistic organization, The Before Columbus Foundation.
“The Domestic Crusaders is to Muslim American theater what A Raisin in the Sun is to African American theater.”
— Pulitzer Prize nominated author Mitch Berman
“The Domestic Crusaders is exactly the sort of theater we need today. The gulf that separates cultures must be bridged and Art is one of our best hopes. I’ll be supporting this all the way – please join me and Wajahat in building this bridge!.”
— Emma Thompson, Academy Award winning actress and screenwriter
“Domestic Crusaders” should be ranked with family dramas written by Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neil.”
-MacArthur Genius, Pulitzer Prize nominated author Ishmael Reed
“This play could change the history of American theater, and of America itself.”
– Lawrence Swaim, In Focus Magazine
“The Domestic Crusaders” is what all high art aspires to do — spotlight complicated truths (and contradictions) without offering easy answers.”
– San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Curiel
“The only play of its kind, “Domestic Crusaders” offers a fresh take on the family drama while demystifying that tense terrain between “us” and “them.” A true theatrical breakthrough.”
-Newsweek’s Lorraine Ali
View more of Wajahat’s adventures in casting for The Domestic Crusaders at Time Magazine in a short film created by Bassam Tariq.
Zahed Amanullah is associate editor of altmuslim.com. He is based in London, England