Brooklyn, Inshallah

In a historic first, A Palestinian-American runs for New York City Council, declaring that the Arab community can be silent no more in Trump's America.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
83 mins
Remote video URL


Out of 40,000 Arab-Americans living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, only 250 were registered to vote in the last election. In a historic campaign, Father Khader El Yateem becomes the first Palestinian to run for the city council. Brooklyn, Inshallah follows the amazing voices behind his campaign: Father K and his family, Muslim political activist Linda Sarsour, and a local community organizer, Aber Kawas.

Featured review

Brooklyn Inshallah bridges a cultural divide in America by showing Arab-Americans singing the Lutheran liturgy and favorite Lutheran hymns in Arabic. This embrace and synthesis of cultures forces us to do a double-take. It looks like there's more in common between North Dakota and Brooklyn than we might have thought.
Bev Questad
It’s Just Movies


Brooklyn, Inshallah follows three Americans: an Arab Lutheran pastor running for NYC Council, Muslim political activist and Women's March leader Linda Sarsour, and a local community organizer, Aber Kawas. We embark on the team’s journey as they attempt to make history. Arabs have lived in New York City for 100-plus years, but have never held a political office. In the last elections, only 250 out of 40,000 Arab-Americans in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, even thought voting was worth the effort. Democracy is not working for this new American community in Brooklyn. How can they change that? How can they get a chance to tell their American story?

Brooklyn, Inshallah brings us deep into the core heart of the campaign, and in doing so exposes the virulent Islamophobia that many Arab-Americans face - even one who is, in fact, a Christian pastor. This local election is as prone to scandal and madness as a national election. But things change when the Democratic Socialists of America join the cause and suddenly, 200 young volunteers emerge onto the streets, ready to knock on doors and engage the populace. In the quieter moments, we hear character's backstories, and are invited inside the struggle of three unique people working to elect the first Arab-American to city office in New York.


Mansour has made a verité film about democracy in action, a real-life drama that deserves a wide audience.
POV Magazine
POV Magazine
The documentary also serves as a powerful lesson in an ongoing American drama — the struggle of a marginalized community to engage in local politics. On that score, the film is a valuable part of that endeavor, a reminder that the Arab American community has a voice and that it must be heard if a disparaged community is to receive its proper rights.
Sarah Osman

Awards and Screenings

Mountainfilm Festival, 2019
Doc NYC, 2019

Director Commentary

When I was new to the USA, I had to cope with the normal phases of cultural estrangement and confusion. I was warmly accepted, even adopted by American and American/Australian families, and then, in other circles, been called a terrorist and told to go home. The candidate Rev. El-Yateem has helped me make sense of this paradox of America and NYC, one that welcomes me with the Statue of Liberty and at the same time, enforces a Muslim ban.

I feel I am walking the same path as my candidate and his family walked decades ago. Rev. El-Yateem has been an inspiration to me through his work and his life. Three years ago, I lived as a member of a nation under siege, in Gaza Strip, strangled for food and life’s necessities in a 10 yearlong Israeli enforced blockade.

The culture shock of arriving in Manhattan was not about American but largely because I was never exposed to such diversity. I never even imagined such a city could exist. Championing El-Yateem’s story helps me broadcast the lessons I have learned about the inestimable value of liberal democracy and how it embraces diversity.

My experience and my passion for film and documentary make me feel compelled to tell this story. This was one chance that my Candidate decided to take, with all its risks, and I had this one chance to be there, to document this defining moment in the history of a community.

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