Bharat Choudhary

  • USA. St. Joseph, Missouri. 2010. Deeba Safi prays at her house. Deeba and her husband, Ahmad, have been working with other Muslim families to establish the first Mosque in St. Joseph but have faced a lot of resistance from the local non-Muslims. [Update: The Mosque has been established and is now fully functional]

  • USA. Oakland, California. 2018. Maya Shweiky (second from right), 27, a high school English teacher, interacts with her students during a class at the Fremont High School, East Oakland. More than eighty percent of the students at Fremont High School are from the Hispanic and African American population. On being asked why she chose to be a teacher at a school that is located in an impoverished and crime-ridden district, Maya said, "I wanted to serve the underserved. I wanted to be there for these kids who usually do not have access to people who care about them. These kids come with so much baggage, so much trauma. I wanted to help them realize that there is light at the end of tunnel, that there is hope for each and every one of them."

  • USA. Pleasanton, California. 2018. Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (center), 70, a world renowned Islamic scholar, speaks at an event at the MCC Mosque. Earlier this year, a report was published which revealed how, for more than a decade, several agencies and police departments have been unlawfully spying on Mosques and Islamic scholars in the USA. Security agencies have been implanting informants, known as Mosque crawlers, who spy on Mosque-goers and secretly record all talks and activities taking place inside a Mosque. This photograph taken with a partially obscured long-focus lens imitates the unethical and often illegal practice of surveillance photography in and around Mosques.

  • USA. Pleasanton, California. 2018. Seen through an Andalusian Arts calendar, students memorize the Quran at the Muslim Community Center.

  • USA. Oakland, California. 2018. Community members greet each other outside the Lighthouse Mosque. The Lighthouse Mosque building, located in an African American neighborhood, once used to be a Black Panther Party community center. Imam Zaid Shakir, a renowned Islamic scholar, founded the Lighthouse Mosque in 2007.

  • USA. Napa, California. 2018. Corporal Omar Salem (foreground), 32, leads a SWAT training scenario exercise with other officers from the Napa police department. Cpl. Salem, who joined the Napa PD in 2007, has been recognized by his peers and the public for his contributions to not only the department but the community as well. A practicing Muslim, Cpl. Salem said, "People often stereotype Muslims and portray us as militants. But Islam has taught me to be a positive, helpful and giving human being. And it was my religion that inspired me to become a police officer and serve my community."

  • USA. Livermore, California. 2018. A group of female students walk around the Five Pillars Farm Islamic graveyard during a lecture titled, 'Visit to the Graveyard & Gravesite Reminders'. The lecture was taught by a renowned Islamic scholar, Imam Tahir Anwar (not in the picture), who spoke about the do's and don'ts in an Islamic graveyard, and how a dead body and its final resting place should be treated with utmost respect.

  • USA. Bridgeview, Illinois. 2010. Amina Demir [left] and her younger sister were in their car when a middle-aged Caucasian male in a car next to them shouted, ‘sand nigger’ and drove away. Amina followed his car, noted the license plate number and reported him to the police. A local court later sentenced the man to 150 hours of community service. 

  • USA. Hayward, California. 2018. Wasim Shefa, 30, at the parking lot outside Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Mosque. Several reports have revealed that intelligence and surveillance agencies in the USA are continuing to engage in the unlawful policy and practice of religious profiling and surveillance, especially of young Muslims who practice and follow their religion faithfully.

  • USA. Chicago, Illinois. 2010. Kaiser Aslam sketches the Chicago city skyline at the Ohio Street beach, as his art sheets fly around. Kaiser said, “It's not easy. There are a lot of temptations in this society but it’s my faith in Allah, and his blessings that shield me from all wrongdoings”. 

The Silence of ‘Others’

The Silence of ‘Others’ is a critical examination of the consequences of the never-ending War on Terror, and how the War has enabled the debasement of the lives of Muslim communities in the United States of America.

The War on Terror and its propaganda has nurtured an anti-Islamic prejudice in America and has promoted a perception that all Muslims are either ‘fundamentalists’ or ‘terrorists’. It has given birth to a climate where Muslims are believed to be fundamentally alien with an inherent set of negative traits, such as irrationality, intolerance and violence. The War on Terror has further enabled a socio- political and legal environment where American Muslims are being racialized through the construction of a visible archetype using indicators like name, attire, phenotype and language. And this racial construction of Muslims and ‘Muslim-looking people’ leaves them extremely vulnerable to hate crimes, illegal surveillance, and ‘othering’.