During an era characterized by both hijabi fashion models and enduring post-9/11 stereotypes, ten Muslim American teenagers came together to explore what it means to be young and Muslim in America today. These teens represent the tremendous diversity within the American Muslim community, and their book, like them, contains multitudes. Bilal writes about being a Muslim rocker. Noor reflects about speaking in multiple tongues. Samaa creates her own cartoon Kabob Squad. Ayah responds to online hate. Through poems, essays, artwork, and stories, these young people aim to show their true selves, to build connection, and to create more inclusive and welcoming communities for all.
During the summer of 2018, Shout Mouse Press began intensive art and writing workshops with ten young artists and writers of then Next Wave Muslim Initiative (NWMI). These teens represent the tremendous diversity that exists within the American Muslim community, from race and ethnicity, to sect, to the number of generations lived in the US, to they way they choose to approach their faith. Their mission? To produce an original collection of stories, essays, poetry, and art that confronts anti-Muslim discrimination and explores multiple perspectives of what it means to be young and Muslim in America today. The talented team of art and writing coaches included award-winning author Hena Khan and artist Sobia Ahmad.
This project is an exciting opportunity to further the mission of both SMP and NWMI, as we aim to produce a collaborative book that builds connections across difference, increases understanding of unheard perspectives, and creates more inclusive communities through youth-led peer engagement. We are grateful for the generous sponsorship of the Donors InVesting in Arts Fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation for making this project possible!
Next Wave Muslim Initiative (NWMI) is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 and dedicated to serving and educating the American Muslim community of the Washington metropolitan area, by promoting Islamic principles (such as self-development, community service, and social justice), through relevant programming and projects.