Screening & Discussion: 3rd i NY Presents: Americans On Hold

Wed, January 19, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all screening & discussions »)

Free and Open to the Public

Doors open at 6:30pm

Produced by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law, Americans on Hold: Profiling, Prejudice, and National Security reveals the harmful effects of prejudicial and ineffective U.S. counter-terrorism and immigration policies. Through the personal stories of Anila Ali and Zuhair Mahd, and expert testimony, the film exposes discriminatory profiling at the heart of citizenship delays and border-crossing detentions and delays.

Ali, a teacher, mother, and community organizer originally from Pakistan, became an American citizens in 2002, but faces humiliating and invasive treatment by Customs and Border Protection officials as a consequence of her national origin. Mahd, a blind adaptive technologies specialist from Jordan, waged and won a five-year legal struggle against the Department of Homeland Security in his effort to become a U.S. citizen. In the process, he was repeatedly interrogated and pressured by the FBI to become an informant.

Both Mahd and Ali share compelling stories of their experiences with racial profiling and the impact of these experiences on their families, their communities, and their sense of self and security. The film also explores the inherent affront to one’s sense of dignity and belonging that results from such discriminatory targeting and from having one’s life put “on hold.”


Petra Bartosiewicz is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her forthcoming book, “The Best Terrorists We Could Find,” an investigation of terrorism trials in the U.S. since 9/11, will be published by Nation Books in 2011. She has written for numerous publications, including The Nation, Mother Jones, The New York Times, and Hustler, and has worked in radio for the weekly program, This American Life, where her 2005 piece, “The Arms Trader,” was a finalist for the Livingston Awards and Scripps Howard Awards, and another piece, “The Prosecutor,” won the 2009 Newswomen’s Club of New York Award. Her 2009 story “The Intelligence Factory” in Harper’s Magazine was a runner-up for the Molly Ivins Award. She got her start in journalism at The New York Observer and later attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

"Americans on Hold" producer Julie Hassman is a lawyer and a filmmaker. She has an extensive background in international human rights law, and has lived and traveled throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She has been working as a litigator at Davis Polk & Wardwell for the past five years, where she has done a variety of pro bono work with organizations including NYU Law School’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Fordham Law School’s Leitner International Human Rights Clinic. She also teaches the Davis Polk Asylum Workshop at Columbia Law School, and has represented a number of asylum seekers from countries including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali, Chad, and China.

In 2006, Ms. Hassman graduated with a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she studied human-rights law and documentary filmmaking. In addition to co-producing “Americans on Hold” with NYU Law School’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Ms. Hassman co-directed and produced a documentary film on solitary confinement of the mentally ill in New York State prisons. She also worked as a translator and production assistant on Parvez Sharma’s film about LGBT rights in the Muslim world called “A Jihad for Love,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007.


Our Sponsors

3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part by the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by NYSCA and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

About the Presenting Organization

3rd I New York's monthly film and video salons designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers focuses on the works of independent media-makers of South Asian, Middle Eastern and North African descent. Providing alternative forums for under-represented filmmakers who often have few venues to showcase their work not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion.

Last updated: 2011-09-12 11:09:00

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia