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  • Ondrea Li

Recapping "Stranger at the Gate"

On Sunday, March 24th, 2024, we had the pleasure of hosting a screening of 2023 Oscar-nominated short documentary, “Stranger at the Gate” in partnership with the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and FilmScene! Hosted by our very own Executive Director Amy Alice Chastain, we were amazed to see a full house of audience members.  

Directed by Joshua Seftel and produced by Malala Yousafzai, the Oscar-nominated short documentary featured U.S Marine Corps and Army Veteran Richard “Mac” McKinney who came back to the U.S. filled with rage towards Muslims. In what he viewed as a final mission for his country, McKinney built an IED to blow up the Muncie Islamic Center. Then, on his trip to the mosque, he was welcomed by the local Muslim community and Afghan refugee Bibi Bahrami who changed the course of his life. 

The documentary was followed by a Zoom Q&A Session with Director Joshua Seftel and two of the film’s main subjects, Richard “Mac” McKinney and Bibi Bahrami. Our audience members asked amazing, thought-provoking questions that ignited interesting responses.  

“There is always something someone can do to eliminate this hatred,” Richard “Mac” McKinney said in advocating for change and making a difference. 

We would like to thank the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and FilmScene for co-hosting the event and our financial supporters from the UI Center for Human Rights, the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, and the Religious Studies Department for making this possible. Additionally, thank you to Director Joshua Seftel, Richard “Mac” McKinney, and Bibi Bahrami for joining us for the Q&A session. Your stories and wisdom inspire us! Lastly, thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to come out and experience the viewing with us. We appreciate your support! 


“Stranger at the Gate” is a remarkable story told by Richard “Mac” McKinney, his family, and friends about his struggle with Islamophobia and how his life diverged into the path of light and love. Check out the documentary free and available to the public here: 




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