The Muslim Writers Collective was founded in January 2014 by Ayisha Irfan and her brother, Hamdan Azhar. The collective is described as a “space for young Muslims to honor their humanity,” and to share stories about what it means to grow up in a post 9-11 world.
The founders were both interested in writing, and knew there was a creative need within the Muslim community. “From the very, very beginning, it’s just been extremely clear that this is something that people need and want and have been waiting for,” says co-founder, Ayisha Irfan.
The project has since grown, expanding to six cities across the US and Canada. In addition to monthly open mic nights, the New York City branch also runs a writers workshop.
Vice News went to a Friday night open-mic night and reports, “The stories were about love and loss of many different kinds: a woman’s last conversation with her husband before their divorce; a young man’s experience seeing death in a hospital as a teenager; a contributor’s fervent love and admiration for his mom. And there was also diversity in the forms each story took. People read short stories, recited poems and spoken word, and rocked the audience into fits of laughter with stories of failed attempts to win back lost loves.”