Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Eirini Vourloumis: Latino Muslims

Photo © Eirini Vourloumis-All Rights Reserved
Eirini Vourloumis is a freelance photographer who has recently been featured on The New York Times' LENS blog for her photo essay on Islamic communities in the United States. She is a graduate of Parsons and the Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been published on Lens and in The New York Times, New York Magazine, FT magazine and The Village Voice. She also attended the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Istanbul where I met her this past summer.

There are an estimated 200,000 Latinos in the United States who have converted to Islam. Most of them live and work in New Jersey and in New York City. They represent a unique fusion of religious and cultural identity, as they're attracted by Islam's simplicity and the absence of a clergy...in direct contrast to Catholicism.

Eirini has a couple of photo essays on her website featuring Muslim communities in the United States; the Great Muslim Adventure Day and the Indonesian Community Mosque in NYC. She managed to present an insight in a small community, but part of a larger community which has been -and still is- unfairly maligned in this country.

As Eirini says in her interview with James Estrin:

"It is challenging to live in the U.S as a Muslim. There is a heightened sense of Islamophobia, which can be aggravated by the general portrayal of Muslims in the media. Negative images of Islam — drawn from associations with fundamentalism and terrorism — have begun to marginalize Islamic communities, accentuating the prejudice that many Muslims face in their daily lives."

Good work!