Muslims in America
As a globetrotting photojournalist, Alexandra Avakian ’83 has spent the past two decades photographing Muslims around the world: Palestinian soldiers, Uzbekistani farmers, Somalian refugees, Iranian women at the beach. In this excerpt from her new book, Windows of the Soul: My Journeys in the Muslim World, Avakian turns toward home, training her camera on muslims in America.
Photographing Muslims in the United States gave me a window into their lives in turn-of-the-century America. The dynamism of the communities was as striking as their diversity. On Los Angeles’s Skid Row, Arab-American teenagers handed out free meals to the homeless. In a Mississippi village, Muslims shared a religious lifestyle in the countryside.
Muslim Americans, too, died in the attack on the World Trade Center. In New York, the Hamdani family defended the reputation of their son, killed trying to save people in the World Trade Center, only to be wrongly accused of aiding the terrorists. In Mississippi and Cincinnati, I visited Muslim families as they sat—horrified—watching the latest televised news about radical Islamic terrorists.