The Stream

How did kindness thwart the bombing of a US mosque?

On Thursday, April 20 at 19:30 GMT:
In 2009, Richard “Mac” McKinney was a US combat veteran who struggled with PTSD after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once thrusted back into civilian life in Muncie, Indiana, McKinney’s rage against Muslims – Islamophobic ideas shaped by his time in the military – took a new and dangerous turn.

He wanted to bomb a local mosque.

McKinney’s story is told in the documentary short “Stranger at the Gate”, which was nominated for an Oscar this year. Intent on gathering intel on local Muslims at the Muncie Islamic Center, McKinney is welcomed into their community with compassion and kindness. Over time, he decides not to carry out his bomb plot, converts to Islam and eventually becomes president of the Islamic centre.

“Stranger at the Gate” director Josh Seftel says the film is ultimately about overcoming hate and finding common ground with others. It’s a much-needed message for an increasingly polarised world.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll speak to the people featured in “Stranger at the Gate”.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Bibi Bahrami
President, Islamic Center of Muncie

Mac McKinney
Life coach and public speaker

Joshua Seftel, @JSeftel 
Director, “Stranger at the Gate”