Muslims In America
The first Muslims may have arrived in the North American continent in the 14th century. And according to this article about “Islam in America,” even Christopher Columbus may have used a guide book written by Portuguese Muslims!
Yet, Muslims in America today often feel marginalized and stigmatized by the media. They become easy targets of ridicule because of their faith or in the way they dress. The fact is, Muslims who have either immigrated to the United States or have been here for generations are productive citizens in the communities they call home.
Genesis Of A Project
So, when New York based editorial photographer Syed Yaqeen was looking to work on a portrait project, it would seem the work came looking for him!
Syed who is originally from Bangladesh, identifies himself as an American now. To counter the often negative portrayal of Muslims in the media, Syed commenced to work on project to portray his Muslim sisters and brothers in a positive manner. Through his work, he hopes to inform us that Muslims are so much more than the stereotypes seen on television every night.
He was commissioned by ISPU – The Institute of Social Policy and Understanding – to create the portraits for Muslims for American Progress.
Portraits of A Community
From Syed's site:
“The Muslims for American Progress (MAP) Project educates the public by providing a much-needed, evidence-based portrait of a deeply misunderstood community. The MAP project quantifies the contributions of American Muslims in New York City in eight areas: Civics and Democracy, Economic Development, Medicine, STEM, Philanthropy and Nonprofits, Arts and Entertainment, Sports & Education. MAP-NYC is a project of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. ISPU conducts objective, solution-seeking research that empowers American Muslims to develop their community and fully contribute to democracy and pluralism in the United States. ISPU is a leading think tank focused on studying and empowering the American Muslim community.”
The Interview with Syed Yaqeen
Syed and I recently chatted about his work and where he hopes to take it after New York City. Give this quick interview a listen please.
Syed's Portrait Portfolio
Give these portraits a close look please. These are our neighbors, our friends, may be even our relatives. I believe the central premise to Syed Yaqeen's work is to show us that Muslims aren't really very different than you and me.
Meet & Greet
Meet some of the subjects of this project this Saturday (April 14, 2019) at the Mulberry Street Library in New York City.