Islam in America

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Lynsey Addario made a name for herself photographing conflict in the Muslim world: women living under Taliban rule in pre-9/11 Afghanistan; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the civil war in Libya; the genocide in Darfur; the ongoing refugee crisis. Some of those images earned her a MacArthur “genius grant” and a share in a Pulitzer Prize, and her experiences—she’s been kidnapped twice, in Iraq and in Libya—gave her plenty of fodder for a recent memoir (soon to be a movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jennifer Lawrence).

Lately, though, the Norwalk, Connecticut–born, London-based photographer, who has lived abroad for years, has been more and more interested in training her lens on her own country. “It’s a very important time to be working in America,” she says. “We see this rise in hate. People seem to be governing by fear. In my time abroad, I’ve realized that so many people look to America for guidance, to be the country to fall back on. People are confused about what’s going on.”

When Vogue sent Addario to the Baltimore area to follow a handful of American Muslim women for a week, photographing their daily routines, it was early January: Donald Trump had been elected but not inaugurated; the Islamophobic rhetoric of his campaign was fresh in people’s minds, but his outrageous, ill-conceived “Muslim ban,” and the wave of protests that it sparked, were not yet a reality. There’s a sense, looking at these images, of the calm before the storm.

There’s also a sense of how individually each woman wears her faith. “We’re not a monolith,” says Zainab Chaudry, a Baltimore-born Muslim of Pakistani descent and a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “There’s this idea that we’re all cookie-cutter versions of one another. The fact is, we come from very diverse backgrounds. We all have unique experiences that define who we are.”

If there’s one experience many share, it’s that of having their hijab misunderstood. In this country, Muslim women—many of whom choose to cover their heads—are often the most public, visible symbol of Islam. Their head scarves make them targets, not only for Islamophobes but also for misinformed non-Muslims, who see the practice as a marker of oppression. “I could probably write a book,” Chaudry says, laughing. “The condescending statements. The sympathetic looks. The Oh, you poor thing. It’s like: No, no, you’ve just never been inside a Muslim household. In many cases the woman is the one who calls the shots.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM VOGUE MAGAZINE

Vogue Celebrates Muslims In Special Feature On American Women

58b9c56e1900003300bd6a42Vogue is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year with a dazzling feature on the diverse lives and stories of American women around the country. Among the subjects featured is a community of Muslim women in Maryland, whose stories serve to remind viewers of the faith community’s crucial place in the American fabric.

The anniversary special, entitled “American Women,” encompasses 15 portfolios of video and portraiture shot by an array of photographers.  Photojournalist Lynsey Addarrio shot the feature on “Islam in America,” which zoomed in on four Muslim women living in Maryland.

Addarrio has been photographing Muslim men and women for over a decade, often shooting in regions of the world that have been ravaged by war and strife. But with Islamophobia on the rise, the photographer said it’s a critical time to be doing this work in the U.S.

“Since President Trump took office, he has issued executive orders directly and unjustly targeting Muslims,” Addario told The Huffington Post. “In my opinion, it’s important for mainstream media to show that Muslims are Americans-and many Americans are Muslims, and I hope stories like this can dispel misconceptions.”

Among the women Addario featured is Zainab Chaudhary, the Maryland outreach manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a major Muslim advocacy group. In her work and personal life, Chaudry also often finds herself fighting back against stereotypes about Islam and Muslim women.

Thanks, Trump, for Making Americans Heart Muslims

49576948-cachedDonald Trump has done something truly amazing: He has inspired thousands and thousands of Americans to stand up for Muslims in opposition to his “Muslim ban.” It’s such an astounding development that I’m almost happy Trump won!

I’ll be blunt: I never expected to see so many of my fellow Americans take to the streets in over 30 cities from New York to Los Angeles to even Omaha, Nebraska, to make it clear that they not only opposed Trump’s “Muslim ban” but were standing shoulder to shoulder with Muslims. As a Muslim American, I found it hard not to get emotional seeing this outpouring of support for our community.

It was especially awe-inspiring to see so many protesters expressing solidarity with our community by holding up signs that read, “We are all Muslims now.” In fact, The Daily Show’s “Muslim correspondent,” Hassan Minhaj, noted on the show recently the “beautiful irony” at play given Trump’s fear of the spread of Islam. Minhaj then joked, “Well congratulations, Mr. President, mission accomplished,” as a protest sign that read “We are all Muslims now” appeared on the screen.

And this Sunday in New York City we may very well see the biggest gathering of all of people coming out to stand with Muslims. That’s when the “I am a Muslim too” rally will be held in Times Square organized by Russell Simmons, Imam Shamsi Ali, and Rabbi Marc Schneier.

Simmons explained via email, “This rally is meant to focus on this attack on our Muslim brothers and sisters because an attack on them is an attack on all of us.” He added, “We can never truly be free until all of us are free.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY BEAST 

An Idiot’s Guide to Islam in America

US-POLITICS-RELIGION-OBAMAIslam hates us.” That was a recurring theme of your campaign, Mr. President-elect.

And who can blame you? After all, your top advisors on Muslim affairs — Ann Coulter, Frank Gaffney, and Walid Phares — are card-carrying Islamophobes. Your incoming national security advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, wants Muslim leaders to “declare their Islamic ideology sick,” and your special advisor, Steve Bannon, has been accused of using his Breitbart News Daily radio show to instigate “fear and loathing of Muslims in America.”

But now that you’ve announced it’s time for America to “bind the wounds of division,” it might be useful for you to learn a little bit more about one of the most alienated segments of the nation you now lead: American citizens who also happen to be Muslims.

I get that you’re worried about what you call “radical Islamic terrorism.” I’ve been reporting on extremists who claim to represent Islam since I covered the first anti-American suicide bombings in Beirut in the early 1980s, so I share your concern. I’ve seen friends die and others waste away in captivity at their hands. And I’ve come awfully close to being a victim myself a few times. But I’ve also learned that Muslims come in many colors — literally and figuratively — and my doctorate in Islamic studies helped me understand that the religion itself is interpreted in many different ways. In fact, America’s 3.3 million Muslims, the other 1 percent, are developing their own take on what it means to follow Islam.

The jihadis are already rejoicing at your election because — their words here, not mine — it “reveals the true mentality of the Americans and their racism toward Muslims and Arabs and everything.” But what do they know?

When Bill O’Reilly asked you whether you thought American Muslims fear you, you replied, “I hope not. I want to straighten things out.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE 

American Muslim leaders to Trump: ‘Reconsider and reject’ your bigoted Cabinet nominees

imrsAmerican Muslim leaders on Monday sent an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump, calling on him to “reconsider and reject” some of the individuals he recently named to his administration who have “a well documented history of outright bigotry directed at Muslims or advocating that Muslims should not have the same rights as their fellow Americans.”

The letter, which also heralded the long history of Muslim contributions to American society, did not identify any of Trump’s advisers or cabinet appointees by name. But some of its 300-plus signatories, who ranged from imams and university chaplains to the presidents of Islamic charities and advocacy groups, have previously expressed concern about Trump’s selection of retired Marine Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as a national security adviser, Stephen Bannon as senior counselor, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for Attorney General, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) for CIA Director, and Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development Secretary — all of whom have publicly criticized Islam or supported policy ideas like a ban on Muslim immigrants or refugees.

The letter read, in part: “[We] are deeply troubled by reports that your team is actively considering proposals that would target Muslims based on religion and violate their Constitutional rights. Advisors and members of your transition team have proposed a registry of Muslim immigrants and visitors to this country. Shockingly, an advisor cited the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II – one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s history – as precedent for targeting Muslims.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

A Muslim Student Tells Her Story of Faith

muslim-americans-2One of the great things about the U.S. Constitution is that it gives people certain rights. The First Amendment states that Americans should have freedom of religion.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

There are many religions celebrated in America — Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam — just to name a few. Many believe that all Americans should follow Christianity or that Christianity should be the only religion allowed in America. If that were the case, then the First Amendment would have to be amended, and if that were to happen, where would it end? Should the Second Amendment be taken out of the Constitution as well?

People were scared of Christians at one point in time and Christianity was outlawed. America has to keep going forward. To outlaw Islam or any other religion because people are scared, will just set America back to the middle ages. There are fanatics in all religions, even in Christianity.

In recent years, Muslims, who follow the Islamic religion, have been targets of hate and sometimes even physical abuse because they are blamed for any terrorist attack that has or will happen. The Ohio State stabbing suspect was described as African American by someone on Facebook and someone replied “I do not think he was” black “…pretty sure that tan skin color was Muslim” and added an angry face emoji after the comment.

Muslim isn’t a skin color.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE PRESS LEADER 

You Belong’: Man Offers Message of Support to Muslim Community

“You belong. Stay strong. Be blessed. We are one America.”

That’s the message on a sign that a man named Justin Normand recently held outside of the Islamic Center of Irving in Texas.

The gesture has warmed the hearts of many members of the center’s mosque and thousands more across the country, according to ABC station WFAA in Dallas.

A photo of Normand and the sign posted to Imgur this past Friday, Nov. 25, has been viewed more than 450,000 times as of this afternoon.

Normand, a Presbyterian Christian, wrote in a Facebook post this week that his sign was about showing solidarity with the Muslim community — which has been experiencing a “tremendous level of fear” after Donald Trump‘s surprise victory in the election, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

FULL ARTICLE AND VIDEO FROM ABC NEWS