BenU presents reading of play dramatizing challenges faced by Muslim-Americans

April 7, 2017

Silk Road Rising co-founder is Benedictine's Spring 2017 artist-in-residenceJamil Khoury, founding artistic director of Silk Road Rising

Lisle, Illinois ~ Jamil Khoury, a playwright, filmmaker, essayist and founding artistic director of the live theater and online video production company Silk Road Rising, will perform a staged reading of his play, “Mosque Alert,” at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, in Goodwin Hall, Room 321.

The performance is free and open to the public. 

“Mosque Alert” tells the story of three fictional families living in Naperville, Ill., whose lives are interrupted by a proposed Islamic center on the site of a beloved local landmark. The play shows the challenges and resistance Muslim-Americans face when trying to build houses of worship and received the 2013 ChangeMaker Award from South Asian Americans Leading Together.

Khoury is visiting Benedictine University as part of the Spring 2017 Artist-in-Residence program. The program, established by the College of Liberal Arts, seeks to draw innovative artists to campus to serve and enrich the experience of the entire University community.

Khoury will also teach an empathic intensive course offering students the opportunity to experience interactive theater lessons while learning playwriting firsthand. The course, “EPIC Empathic Playwriting 1 (FNAR 291 B),” will be taught on Mondays until May 1.

The theater lessons will guide students to utilize empathy and creativity to articulate stories through drama. The course focuses on the belief that storytelling is a universally revered and deeply human craft that extends bridges of understanding between diverse people and communities. Students will harness playwriting to bridge the gaps between personal experience, imagination and the act of writing a 10-minute play.

Silk Road Rising, co-founded in 2002 by Khoury, creates live theater and online videos telling stories primarily through Asian-American and Middle-Eastern American perspectives. In January, Khoury received the 2017 Diversity Leadership Award for University of Chicago Alumni from the school's Diversity Leadership Council. 

He has also been honored by the Association for Asian American Studies with its 2015 Community Leader Award and by the Actors' Equity Association with its 2013 Kathryn V. Lamkey Award. In 2010, he was named the recipient of the 3Arts Artist Award.

Khoury earned a Master of Arts in Religious Studies at The University of Chicago Divinity School in 1992 and a Bachelor of Science in International Relations at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1988. He is a Kellogg Executive Scholar and earned a Certificate of Professional Achievement in Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University in 2010.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 9,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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