Mahmoud Othman Atta

A Mosque for Milwaukee


How do you make history?

When Mahmoud Othman Atta was a child, his father made trips from Palestine to the United States to sell goods as a peddler to support his family. When Mahmoud grew older, he came with his father to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and stayed to go to school. He completed school, served in the United States Army, and returned to Palestine to marry. But not long after, war in the Middle East forced Mahmoud and his family to leave Palestine. Seeking a sense of community, Mahmoud and his family made Milwaukee their home, and worked with others to open the first mosque in Milwaukee open to all Muslims.

Meet Mahmoud Othman Atta

View Transcript: English Spanish

Questions to Consider

Illustration of the geographical shape of the State of Wisconsin with the number 1 superimposed above it

When he was sixteen, Mahmoud moved from Al-Bireh, Palestine, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Have you ever made a big move or changed schools? Who helped you in your new community?

Illustration of the geographical shape of the State of Wisconsin with the number 2 superimposed above it

Why did Mahmoud and his family need to leave their hometown and make a new home in Milwaukee? What do you already know about refugees?

Illustration of the geographical shape of the State of Wisconsin with the number 3 superimposed above it

For Mahmoud, being able to practice his religion with others was important. What actions did this prompt him to take? What happened in Milwaukee as a result of his actions?

Read On

Illustration of Mahmoud Othman Atta

Mahmoud Othman Atta: A Mosque for Milwaukee

Get the full story with this biography book. Audio files are available on each page if you’d like to listen along!


Project Credits

David Boffa

Coordinating Producer
Mia Forslund

Hanna Othmal

Brandon Ribordy

Production Artist
Steve Dorchester

Animation Voice Over
Othman Atta

Voice Over Recording
Beaux Neylon

Animation Sound Design
Kerman Eckes

Animation Director
Philip Ashby

English Audiobook Narration
Othman Atta

Arabic Audiobook Narration
Mustafa Bouanani

Audiobook Post-Production
Kerman Eckes
David Boffa

Catie Pfeifer
Vicki Way Kipp

Translation Services
Janan Atta Najeeb
Huda Koran
Rawand Yazaw
The Geo Group
University of Wisconsin–Madison Cultural Linguistic Services

Educator Support Materials
Mia Forslund
David Boffa

Web Design
Charles Barrows

Web Development
John Vieth
Ian Glodich
Tim Schneider

Graphic and Motion Design
Charles Barrows
Ian Glodich

Executive Producer
Megan Monday

Chief Curiosity Officer
Alyssa Tsagong

Director of Television
Jon Miskowski

Project Partners
Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition
We Are Many United Against Hate

Special Thanks
Janan Atta Najeeb
Othman Atta
Bayan Salous
Ihsan Atta
Masood Akhtar
Charles Cohen
Kelly Saran
Mouna Algahaithi

Educator Cohort

Maria Ahmad
Madison, WI

Kaitlyn Beguhl
Section Elementary School
Mukwonago, WI

Mary Pat Erdmann
Woodside Elementary School
Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Megan Geddes
Highland Community School
Milwaukee, WI

Kristine Harrison
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Erin McCarthy
Greendale Middle School
Greendale, WI

Mallory Umar
Racine Unified School District
Racine, WI

Kate Van Haren
Pittsville Elementary School
Pittsville, WI

Funding provided by

Doris Duke Foundation

Timothy William Trout Education Fund
a gift of Monroe and Sandra Trout

Focus Fund for Education

Friends of PBS Wisconsin