Fremont, U.S.A.

A City’s Encounter with Religious Diversity

Produced and directed by Rachel Antell and Elinor Pierce. Narrated by Dr. Diana L. Eck.

For more than two decades, the Pluralism Project has studied and documented the new religious landscape of the United States. One of the cities visited in our early research inspired the documentary film Fremont, U.S.A. ( More… )

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This film offers a glimpse of religious diversity on the local level: Fremont, California is a city transformed by new immigration. A rajagopuram rises in a tidy suburban neighborhood, announcing the vital presence of the Hindu community. The diversity of the global Buddhist community is also in evidence, as Thai, Chinese, and Burmese temples - and a women’s monastic retreat center - dot the landscape. Fremont is home to Peace Terrace, where Muslims and Christians have built side by side, and Gurdwara Road, where a large Sikh community engages in creative forms of outreach.

Through civic engagement and interfaith action, strangers have become neighbors in this American city. Yet Fremont has also faced real challenges, especially after 9/11. When Alia Ansari, a Muslim woman, is murdered, some wonder if it was a hate crime: Was she killed because of her headscarf? How will the wider community respond?

Introduction
The mayor, city council members, and police chief offer a brief introduction to the City of Fremont, California as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

New Religious Landscape
As Fremont’s religious landscape has been transformed, new relationships are being forged in this multireligious city.

Civic Engagement
The City of Fremont responds to its growing diversity, creating an innovative program for the elderly and responding to hate violence.

New Challenges After 9/11
After 9/11, Fremont faces new challenges and develops unprecedented outreach and bridge-building efforts.

Alia Ansari
When a Muslim woman is brutally murdered while walking to school with her young daughter, the Fremont community is called upon to respond.

Fremont Moves Forward
Amidst challenge and change, citizens in Fremont look to the future.