Before September 11, New York’s Arab population was an immigrant group making its way like any other: politically diverse; assimilated and separatist; Muslim, Christian, and fundamentalist; wealthy and working class; struggling and successful.
But when two planes hijacked by Islamic extremists destroyed the World Trade Center, the lives of this ethnic group changed within hours. Whether they liked it or not, Americans of Arab origin were now caught in the crossfire of President Bush's war on terrorism. Many found themselves caught between belief in the American dream and dissent from American foreign policy, between empathy with victims and anger at being stereotyped, between their new lives in America and the powerful ties that bind them to their homelands.
Centered in New York City, where September 11 directly affected Arab Americans from every walk of life (including scores who were killed in the World Trade Center), Caught in the Crossfire puts viewers in the shoes of three individuals, each of whom — because of their job and/or place in the community —had a particularly tricky road to navigate in the months following the attacks. The characters featured in the film are:
• Ahmed Nasser, a New York City cop from Yemen who was stationed at ground zero. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, he learned that some fellow officers ignored or minimized calls for help from harassed Arab Americans in the community, and joined with other Muslim cops to provide protection for the community.
• Khader El-Yateem, a Christian minister who considers his homeland Palestine, leads a church in Brooklyn. Most of his family lives in the occupied West Bank.
• Raghida Dergham, a high-level Lebanese American diplomatic correspondent and journalist working at the United Nations. The Lebanese government is indicting her for "dealing with the enemy" for appearing on television with an Israeli.
- Cal SkaggsProducer
- Brad LichtensteinProducer/Director
- David Van TaylorProducer/Director