I am working with female photographers around the country to create a first-of-its-kind collection of images that breaks down negative stereotypes of Muslim women and decreases islamophobia by providing visual evidence of how much we have in common. The problem of islamophobia and the marginalization of Muslims in America is a problem everywhere, including the Puget Sound region. The threats against 2 local mosques just a couple of weeks ago is proof of that. I started this project 9 months ago when I felt the need to respond to this growing problem and unfortunately the need just keeps growing.
I currently have 17 photographers in 7 states working on the project, although the majority of the photographers (including myself) are in the greater Seattle area. I also have nearly 100 women who have volunteered to be photographed, 70% of whom are Muslim. Each photographer has been tasked to create a set a photos - one of a Muslim woman and one of a non-Muslim woman - both engaged in a similar activity. So far we have photos of female politicians, activists, fashion designers, snowboarders, law enforcement officers, athletes, teachers, medical professionals, students and more.
Once the collection is complete (I hope to have a minimum of 20 sets of images), we will host a series of gallery events to bring women together to view the images and engage in dialogue about both their differences and their similarities. Research says that personal interaction is the best way to combat prejudice, and this gallery will provide that.
The first gallery event will take place in Bellevue in August. After that, I hope the gallery will travel around Washington State, and even around the country. I am also working on creating an online version of the gallery in order to expand the impact of the images.
It's time to tell a different, more accurate, story about our Muslim neighbors...one that spreads love (and awesomeness), instead of hate. That is what I hope to do.
Funded by Seattle, WA (July 2016)