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Exhibition Showcases Diversity of Detroit’s Muslim Community

The University of Michigan has opened a new exhibition to showcase the narratives and diversity of Detroit Muslim community.

The “Halal Metropolis” aims to celebrate the Metro Detroit Muslim population, one of nation’s largest and most diverse Muslim populations.

It comes as a result of cooperation between Osman Khan, artist and associate professor at U-M’s Stamps School of Art & Design, Razi Jafri, Stamps graduate student and photographer, and Sally Howell, associate professor and director of U-M Dearborn’s Center for Arab American Studies.

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“This is part of a series of exhibitions we’ve presented in recent years that looks at the visibility, and in some sense, the invisibility of the Muslim population in our state,” Khan, who is also presenting at the show, said in a release cited by Click On Detroit.

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“They’re very visible, but in the Detroit narrative, they’re sort of lost.”

The exhibition blends social and political artifacts, photography, art, and archival materials to explore these concepts.

“Often stories about Muslims in America in general are not very nuanced,” Jafri said in a release.

“They’re presented as monolithic or single minded. What we want people to really take away from this exhibition is an understanding of how diverse, multiethnic and multicultural we are—and we also want to highlight how Muslims are inextricable from the cultural fabric and of American history.”

Detroit is home to the largest Muslim population in the United States per capita. Dearborn is the site of one of the largest mosques in North America, whose congregation can trace its history back to 100 years.

Detroit’s Arab population, which is one of the oldest and largest in North America, has probably always been majority Christian. In 2003, the Detroit Arab American Study, a survey conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, found that the community was 58% Christian and 42% Muslim.