Carlos Khalil Guzman is on a mission: the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based photographer has made it his goal to dispel the stereotypes of the Muslim community in America, one state at a time.
By photographing subjects from each state across the country who identify as Muslim, Guzman is showing firsthand how vastly diverse the community is through his photo series, Muslims of America.
“As a photographer, I know that art has been used throughout history as a tool to fight oppression in various social movements, such as the fight to end apartheid in South Africa, to the Palestinian struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine, to Black Lives Matter,” he told A Plus.
“With the rise of Islamophobia in the States and abroad, with the latest terrorist attack committed against 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, where she was abducted and beaten to death for being Muslim, I felt the need to be proactive and use my craft to reclaim our Muslim narrative,” Guzman continued, “one that continues to be distorted by the mainstream media.”
Each subject — which are primarily women due to the targeted prejudice against them, and includes Syrian refugees and a Native American Muslim, who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock — chooses their favorite verse of the Quran, which helps them cope with the present-day hate against Muslims.
The diversity among the Muslims he’s photographed is not just in the way they look but in the cultural descent they represent, which includes Palestinian, Filipino, Ecuadorian, Somali, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Moroccan, Lebanese, and African-American Muslims.