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The Independent Critic

Richard McKinney
Joshua Seftel
5 Mins.

 "The Secret Life of Muslims: Richard McKinney" Takes Indiana Spotlight Prize 
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Joshua Seftel's 5-minute short doc The Secret Life of Muslims: Richard McKiinney comes to us out of a rather remarkable project that uses humor and empathy to subvert stereotypes and bring to the public a diverse set of American Muslims from a wide range of ethnic origins in a series of short-form, first-person short docs helping to illuminate the Muslim experience in America. 

This particular film, which captured the $2,000 Grand Prize for Best Indiana Spotlight Short Film, centers around a former U.S. Marine veteran, Richard McKinney, who returned from war with so much hatred for Muslims that he began developing a plan to blow up the Islamic Center in Muncie, Indiana, an act that could have, quite literally, cost a couple hundred lives and would have likely ended with his own death or incarceration. 

Then, one day, McKinney's young daughter shared a school encounter with a Muslim parent and it was his daughter's response to his own, unrepressed rage that led him to take the first step toward gaining understanding by entering that very same Islamic Center. 

The rest of the story will simply amaze you. 

The Secret Life of Muslims: Richard McKinney is a vibrant, entertaining short film with McKinney front-and-center as a charismatic man whose entire life has been forever changed by the Islamic Center's willingness to receive him and to teach him about their faith. In fact, McKinney is so vibrant and life-affirming in this wonderful short film that it's difficult to imagine just how far he's come in a relatively short period of time. 

The Secret Life of Muslims: Richard McKinney is a memorable short film and, again, it's part of a web-based series that is available at the official website linked to in the credits. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic