One Twitter hashtag #beingblackandmuslim has inspired a beautiful portrait series giving a visual depiction of what it looks like to be apart of two very marginalized groups in America. The visual artist responsible for this series Bobby Rogers published it to his website and social media accounts Wednesday evening.
Rogers, who also identifies as Muslim, went on to explain his art, ”My #BeingBlackandMuslim series was created to challenge the mainstream meaning of what it is to be ‘Muslim' There is, and always has been, an erasure of Black Muslims from our historical teachings in America, just as there is an erasure of Black and Muslim cultures worldwide.”
A 2017 poll by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding found that a quarter of Muslims in the U.S. are black, with slightly smaller percentages of white, Asian and Arab Muslims.
Anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. happened to spike after the September 11 attacks making the religion in its entirety responsible for the terrorist acts of a few extremists. The icing on the cake is that much of the work being done to combat Islamophobia has centered around promoting tolerance of immigrant communities and simultaneously ignoring the experiences of black Muslims “whose Muslim identity is homegrown.”
“When we speak about Islam we should recognize Blackness as an equal and integral part of the conversation, and additionally, truthfully acknowledge the scope of Black Muslims throughout history,” Rogers makes clear.