American Arab

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Amal Abusumayah and her daughters Hiyam and Jannah in American Arab

  • Amal Abusumayah and her daughters Hiyam and Jannah in "American Arab"

Usama Alshaibi, the Baghdad-born, Iowa-bred filmmaker and longtime Chicagoan I profiled for The Reader in August, is back in town tonight to screen clips from his in-progress Kartemquin Films documentary American Arab as part of Arab American Heritage Month.

In American Arab, Alshaibi mines his own personal history and complex identity, as well as those of other Arab Americans, many of them Chicagoans, including a homemaker and mother, a punk singer and a comedian.

After the screening, Alshaibi joins a panel discussion with Marquette University sociologist Louise Cainkar, author of Homeland Insecurity: The Arab-American and Muslim Experience After 9/11, Roosevelt University Middle East studies and political science professor David Faris, and moderator Roxane Assaf of the Chicago Council on Arab Affairs.

It's free, tonight at 7 p.m. at Alshaibi's alma mater Columbia College, Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan Ave.

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