The Eye in Islam is a project whose mission is to see Islam through the eyes of Muslims around the world. It’s about people and their stories. It’s about documenting the beauty of faith. It’s about understanding how diverse people in different cultures can maintain their local identities, but still share the same faith.
Those stories are important to me personally. I want to show that Islam as a religion is not exclusive to or defined by Arab ethnicity. I also want to explore how faith in Islam translates into a spectrum of individual experiences. And you, my dear reader, should care about knowing and sharing these stories if you care about building tolerant and accepting communities. You should care if you appreciate and enjoy the religious and personal freedoms afforded to us in America. These stories should be part of the conversation about Islam and Muslims in America. They should be part of the conversation about tolerance, acceptance, and eradicating prejudice.
The Eye in Islam is a project born from my own struggles (I shared my story with classmates here) and resulting mission to understand the line that separates culture and faith. It is my (probably) crazy quest to get to the bottom of how faith and culture interact. Okay, I probably won’t solve that. But traveling the world to explore and share the diversity of the Muslim world will put me at ease with my own identity and faith – and my hope is that in the process this project helps you as well. I hope that these communities and their stories help you to strengthen your faith, provide a window into vibrant and little-known Muslim communities, and expands your own knowledge of the world’s Muslims.
In order for this project to be possible, I launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $3,000 that 39 generous contributors funded in a matter of days. I then spent the summer visiting communities around the world. I documented their stories and shared their pictures with you through this blog and social media. After returning from travels that spanned Brazil, Senegal, Bosnia, China, Malaysia, and Japan, I know that the many rich and moving stories that were shared with me are exactly what the world today is waiting for.