Muslims: Who are they?

Photo of Muslim girl on roller blades

The Museum of the City of New York has recently opened a new exhibit called “Muslims in New York.” This exhibit opened on Saturday, February 18th as part of a movement to spread awareness of the beauty of the Muslim-American Community.

The exhibit contains thirty four images by four different photographers who have documented the Muslim community from the mid twentieth century to the early twenty first century.

“ When I heard of the idea for the exhibit, I contacted the museum myself because I felt I could contribute with my photographs” stated Robert Gerhardt, one of the four photographers. “When people come to appreciate one another, it is a beautiful thing and that is what we are trying to accomplish here. The concept of us rather than them.”

Since the election of President Trump, racist and hateful acts have been on the rise. White supremacists and racist groups have now become more outspoken and minority communities have felt the effects. As of recent, the Muslim community in particular has received countless amounts of negative attention. This has been primarily sparked by the implementation of an executive order, issued by President Trump, which bans travel from certain Middle Eastern countries.

The executive order restricted immigrant entry into the United States from seven different Middle Eastern and African countries. These countries include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Sudan. This ban has caused a huge uproar from the Muslim community as well as Liberal minded people sparking many protests in a variety of big cities.

Many people claim that this ban was made out of President Trump’s ignorance of who and what the Muslim religion represent.

“Yes, I do believe this exhibit represents my culture very accurately” says Barika Al-Alham, an immigrant from Iran. “I came to this country in 1974 and raised a family here. I came here [to the exhibit] to see people who might appreciate what my culture has to offer. We are a very peaceful people and want to be a part of America.”

Photo of Muslim cop stopping to make a prayer

In New York City, people of the Muslim religion constitute an estimated five percent of the entire population and make up a good portion of the diversification of New York City. Muslims have immigrated to the United States as far back as Christopher Columbus however, the population of Muslim Americans was very small. During the twentieth and twenty first centuries the numbers shot up from merely ten thousand to about two hundred and seventy thousand people.

With all this hectic action with the travel ban and the protests erupting, a greater appreciation for the Muslim people has blossomed. People have evidently opened up more to people not of their own culture.

“I think it is important for people to understand what the Muslim community is actually made of” said David Vargas, a security guard for the exhibit. “This exhibit shines a new light on who they really are.”

The exhibit has brought not only Muslim people but many different cultures to come and view the detailed photographs. The exhibit will remain open to the public until July 30th, 2017 from 10 AM to 6 PM.