A 2010 cover of Time magazine asked a simple question: “Is America Islamophobic?” The answer then, as it is now, is alarmingly the same. Xenophobia—the fear of the other—is at the heart of Islamaphobia, a superfluous fear exacerbated by the stark reality that many Americans know little about American Muslims. Far too many Americans conflate Islam with terrorism. This narrow perception is fueled by a violent narrative constructed by sensationalized television news reports and the misinformation, lies and generalizations fabricated by politics and popular culture. Violence inaccurately presented, and accepted of a faith grounded in peace. The consequences are terrifying. Today’s climate of fear mongering and relentless violence and war continue to incite anti-Muslim political rhetoric, hate crimes and sentiments that Muslims have no place in America.
This American Muslim is the debut project of Project Prism, a non-profit organization that empowers marginalized communities to document and preserve their stories and lived experiences. This American Muslim provides a platform for American Muslims to share our stories, our voices and our art. The Project challenges Islamophobia, and shifts the focus, from Muslims in America as objects of study and scrutiny, to subjects with voices, hearts, and beliefs. This American Muslim presents the diversity of the American Muslim voice, community and experience, and provokes people to see the world through a different lens. Art, writings, and American Muslims present their art, their writings and their voices – what it means to be an American Muslim: Islamophobia, identity, current affairs and the daily nuances—the mundane and the extraordinary—of everyday life.