“Redneck Muslim” (now streaming on PBS) explores the life and work of Shane Atkinson, the first Muslim chaplain in-training at North Carolina’s biggest trauma center. Shane is also the founder of the “Society of Islamic Rednecks” which he says started as a way to both celebrate Southern culture as well as take on Muslim stereotypes. He wants to reform the redneck mentality, and become more inclusive — to all religions including Islam.
A 45-year old self-described “good old white boy,” Shane converted to Islam in 1999 and became a chaplain after his family suffered a tragic loss. Today, he works with a team of interfaith chaplains at North Carolina Memorial Hospital, offering services to patients and families of all religious affiliations.
Filmmakers Jennifer Maytorena Taylor and Mustafa Davis say this about their project: “We made ‘Redneck Muslim’ to explore how our realities are always way more complicated than the labels we put on ourselves and others. We hope ‘Redneck Muslim’ will make people think past the stereotypes that depict all Muslims as foreign and all rural white people as opposed to racial justice, and we hope the film will encourage people to think and talk across the lines that are dividing us.”