Accept the Call
USA. 2019. 83 min
Twenty-five years after leaving Somalia as a refugee to begin his life anew in Minnesota, Yusuf Abdurahman’s nineteen-year-old-son Zacharia is arrested in an FBI anti-terrorism sting operation.
“Accept the Call” is the story of a father looking for answers to understand why his son tried to leave home to join a terrorist organization in a foreign country, and journeys with them to find a way back, after breaking each other’s hearts. Through his eyes, the film explores the struggles of Muslim American youths growing up in contemporary America.
A former broadcast journalist, Eunice Lau has a penchant for telling stories concerning social justice. Her film “Through the Fire” filmed in Somalia, was nominated for best short documentary at AMPAS Student Academy in 2013 while she was pursuing her MFA in film directing at New York University. With her training in narrative filmmaking, she seeks to bring a cinematic form to documentary films. Her works have appeared on Discovery Channel, Al Jazeera English and Channel News Asia. As a Singaporean filmmaker who calls New York City home, her stories often capture the journey of the immigrant and the profundity of our increasingly myriad hyphenated identities.
I was a young reporter when September 11 happened, and witnessed how it forever altered the world that I had grown up in. Atrocities were committed in the name of righteousness; militarization fueled not just the rise of phobia against Muslims, but the support for right-wing governments and the appeal of extreme ideology . Within a decade, whatever lessons and progress we had made since the end of the Great Wars were slowly being eroded. The world is once again, divided and deeply wounded.
Against this backdrop and 14 years after the fall of the Twin Towers, seven Somali American teenagers were arrested on terrorism charges as they attempted to leave the country to join ISIS. Beyond the headlines, what stood out to me was the fact that these youths grew up in a post-9/11 America that was hostile to the very fabric of their being as Muslims Americans. As I followed the story, I wondered how they have suffered and how the counter-terrorism policies have hurt them? And I wondered too, if that anger and hurt had turned them away – towards the false promise of a better world offered by ISIS?
Eunice Lau: firstname.lastname@example.org