Filmmaker Looks at Parallels Between JA, Muslim American Experiences

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Lina Hoshino

PETALUMA — In observance of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Petaluma Progressives will present two films by Lina Hoshino on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Clear Heart Gallery, 368B Petaluma Blvd. North, as part of the Petaluma Film Series.

“Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple Was Saved” (2010, 20 minutes) focuses on Enmanji Buddhist Temple, which was first established in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, in 1926 and served as a place of worship as well as a center of activity for the local Japanese farm communities. During World War II, the temple was locked up while the congregation was forcibly incarcerated.

Anti-Japanese sentiment ran high, and unidentified individuals tried to vandalize and burn down the temple while the Nikkei families were away. An ax scar is still visible on the temple building.

This inspiring film tells a little-known story of local Caucasian teenagers who organized to guard the temple. Hoshino narrates the film and weaves together interviews with long-time Sonoma County residents and historical photographs and documentation.

“Caught in Between: What to Call Home in Times of War” (2003, 20 minutes) captures Muslim and Japanese American communities revisiting the dark days of incarceration during World War II. Interviews with former internees, their children, religious leaders, citizens and immigrants from Japanese and Muslim American communities are woven together to make crucial connections between the events of the 1940s and today’s “War on Terror.”

“Caught in Between” tells a story about people who have been labeled as the enemy and captures the power of people standing together to fight for civil liberties and human rights.

“I personally would like to dedicate this screening to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy,  to the 6,026 U.S. soldiers killed, to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians who lost their lives, and to those who have been unjustly detained or deported in the name of ‘national security,’ ” said Hoshino. “May the 9/11 tragedy not continue to be used to justify perpetual wars and endless occupations.”

The filmmaker will be present for the screenings.

Suggested donation: $4. For more information, call 765-0888 or visit www.petalumafilmseries.com.

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