“Throughout history, artists have always used art to tell their stories and to resist the status quo. I thought I could use my photography to share the real side of the Muslim community,” declares artist and activist Carlos Khalil Guzman who says he is fighting Islamophobia through the lens of his camera. Guzman is in the middle of a photo series called Muslims of America which depicts Muslims from all 50 states — from New York to Hawaii.
Once finished, the series will comprise 114 portraits, each representing the 114 suras (or chapters) in the Quran. Alongside each portrait is the subject’s favorite verse from the Quran or hadith (a collection of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) along with a personal statement.
Subjects for the series include a Native American Muslim organizing against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a spoken word artist from Alaska, Syrian refugees, and a teenage hijabi boxer.
“People might not think that there are Muslims in Arkansas or Kansas,” says the photographer. “So I wanted to find Muslims in all 50 states to show that we exist and are pretty much everywhere. We’re part of the fabric of the country.”
Guzman says he hopes the end result will be a traveling exhibit.