Challenging the Silence of Others

Bharat Choudhary has seen the power of religious hatred up close. After the 2002 sectarian riots in Gujarat, Mr. Choudhary counseled victims who had been paralyzed or raped during the violence. His clients were Muslims. Mr. Choudhary is Hindu.

The jarring encounter would prove fortuitous, becoming the topic for his masters project, photographing young Muslims who were born in the United States. He admits that at first, he didn’t know much about them.

He realized the central question for many young American Muslims was how to be both authentically Muslim and authentically American. They were often asked – sometimes with hostility– whether they were Muslim first or American first. In many cases, the young men and women had found equilibrium.

American Muslims were proportionately better educated and better off financially than their British counterparts. Mr. Choudhary believes what divides Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States is mainly religion, while in England they are separated by political, economic and religious factors. In Britain, some of the poorest communities are predominately Muslim.

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