Canterbury NRL legend Hazem El Masri will attend the Australian premiere of an award-winning US documentary that features a side of football not often seen.
At Fordson High in Michigan, more than 90 per cent of students are Arab-American, in a city called the "Muslim capital" of the United States.
The school's American football team are fasting during Ramadan while preparing for a grudge match against an affluent school in a wealthier part of town, and the anniversary of September 11 looms.
As violent protests continue to ignite across the world in response to the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, the Islamic Council of Victoria's (ICV) Office for Women and the NRL are screening Fordson - an award-winning documentary about sport and its ability to break down social barriers.
The film will premiere in Sydney at 4pm on Sunday September 23 at Hoyts Bankstown, on the eve of the NRL's Grand Final Week, and NRL Ambassador and Bulldogs' icon El Masri will attend and participate in a panel discussion on sport and faith.
"One of my passions is to look at ways we can use sport to build bridges across cultures and help create futures," El Masri said in a statement.
A Lebanese-born Australian, he helped the Bulldogs to the 2004 Premiership and remains the NRL's highest points scorer with 2418 points.
During his career he represented City Origin, NSW, Australia and Lebanon.
The timing of the screening after the violence of the past week is coincidental, says ICV Office for Women spokesperson Rana Hussain.
"I think you can draw parallels between the boys in the film who are living in the US post-September 11 and what's happening with our community at the moment," she told AAP.
"There are people in our community who feel disenfranchised, and we are a community that has borne the brunt of attacks and racism over the years.
"Within the film the boys deal with potential feelings of anger and disenfranchisement by channelling it into something more positive ... On the sporting field everyone is more or less equal."
NRL interim chief executive, Shane Mattiske highlighted the role El Masri plays in both rugby league and the community.
"Inclusiveness is at the heart of rugby league and Hazem has shown time and time again how sport can bring people together in an atmosphere of rivalry and respect," he said.
Hussain said it was important for minority communities in Australia to have sporting figures to look up to.
"Sport can be a positive influence in our lives as Aussie Muslims, and that's why we have people like Hazem El Masri as positive role models," she said.
"It would be great to remind ourselves that there are ways you can engage with the community, and constructively having your say in sport is a wonderful way to do that."