Aljazeera 15-part series on religious minorities shoots episode on Chicago Baha’i community

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Producer Maya Ghosn of Lebanese-British production company Firehorse Films shot an episode on Chicago Baha’i here last November for the forthcoming Aljazeera series “Religious Minorities of the World.”

The 52-minute Baha’i episode is the ninth in a 15-part series that Firehorse has been producing around the globe for the past year. “Religious Minorities” is scheduled to wrap by May and could begin running on Aljazeera anytime thereafter.

Ghosn followed the lives of several diverse members of Chicago’s 1,000-strong Baha’i community, which is centered at the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, the oldest existing temple of the Baha’i faith, and one of seven such temples in the world.

Founded in Iran in the mid-19th Century, Baha’i claims 6 million followers worldwide and recognizes and draws from the teachings of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism.

Ghosn’s Beirut-based assistant producer, who has family in Chicago and who prefers not to be identified, provided Ghosn’s initial contact here. Ghosn brought French director Pierre Adou Joude and DP Murielle Adourouss from Beirut.

New local production company Shattering Paradigms Entertainment hired local sound mixer Josh Jacobs and arranged sound and lighting rentals from Fletcher and Thomasson. Two weeks of prep and a week of shooting culminated in Thanksgiving dinner with a Baha’i family.

“In the Middle East the Baha’i religion is not very popular and is not well-understood,” Ghosn said. “They have strict beliefs about alcohol and chastity and the equality between a man and a woman, and they claim the oneness of humanity. These beliefs are difficult to apply in the U.S. We tried to bring this out and make people in the Middle East understand what life is like for the Baha’i in the U.S.”

Firehorse owners Mouna Mounayer and Najat Rizk secured the deal with Aljazeera to produce the “Religious Minorities” series, which has covered faith communities in Asia, Europe and across the Middle East. Ghosn said Firehorse may return to the U.S. for an episode on Mormons.

Based in Qatar, the satellite network Aljazeera is the world’s premiere Arabic television news source, and has recently announced plans to launch an English-language channel targeted to U.S. and international viewers.

Reach Ghosn at firehorse@firehorsefilmsltd.com.

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