New Multi-Part Independent Lens, A Town Called Victoria, Premieres November 13

When a devastating hate crime reduced a local mosque to ashes, a Texas town had to reckon with its troubled past. Their story – profiled in A Town Called Victoria, a new three-part Independent Lens series – premieres Monday, November 13, at 9pm on CET and ThinkTV16. All three episodes are streaming now with PBS Passport.

From award-winning filmmaker Li Lu, the three-part film follows the stories of Ajrami, Rachid and Hashmi as they deal with the hate crime and reflect on the journey of finding acceptance as Muslim Americans in a conservative Christian small town. Members of the tight-knit community — activists, preachers, worshippers, students, teachers and leaders — gathered to grapple with the town’s rifts and seek a collective way forward. A Town Called Victoria offers viewers an intimate, real-time look at the raw emotions of those involved as the events unfolded.

“The story of the people of Victoria is one of resilience and commitment to community in the face of hate,” director Li Lu said in a press release. “As a Texan and an immigrant myself, I felt so drawn to capture and share this story because I deeply understand the push and pull you feel between love of your home and the complexity of the minority experience.

The series weaves together community member interviews and newscast reports with animated sequences to paint a picture of the harrowing events that took place. This documentary is presented in three parts – two back-to-back episodes on Monday, November 13, followed by part three on November 14.

Episode 1

Monday, November 13, at 9pm

A south Texas town is thrown into the national spotlight when a local mosque is burned down in an apparent hate crime. After the media moves on, the community is left to reflect on its complex history with racism.

Episode 2

Monday, November 13, at 10pm

With the arson trial near, the suspect’s family argues his innocence. Meanwhile, facets of Victoria reveal the ingredients that might have turned him to hate and support for the town’s Muslim community begins to wane.

Episode 3

Tuesday, November 14, at 10pm

The prosecution presents shocking evidence. As the trial concludes, the engaged citizens of Victoria seek a way to build a more inclusive community.

Learn more about the series on our website:

You can also stream all three episodes online with Passport, a member benefit that offers extended access to our programs on the PBS App.

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3: