Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist who has received numerous awards (including the MacArthur Genius Grant and the Pulitzer Prize) for her work covering conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur, and the Congo. So naturally Vogue sent her to Baltimore to cover a very engaging subject – the American Muslim woman.
“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 who is featured in the photo-essay. “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.”
Also featured is Holly Gobelez who is an actress, wife and mother. She converted to Islam just after college and talks about her experiences. “At first a convert will go through this identity crisis: What can I keep from my American identity? What do I get rid of? Then I realized: I’m American. I’m just American and I happen to be Muslim.”
Vogue makes the point that Muslim women are often the most visible symbol of Islam, especially those that wear the hijab. As Vogue comments, “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.” Ms. Chaudry says she has experienced this all too well. “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.”
Be sure to click and view all the wonderful photos featured in Ms. Addario’s photo-essay…