The Silence of 'Others': Bharat Choudhary

  • UK. London. 2010. Community members leave the East London Mosque after Eid prayers. Combined with the adjoining London Muslim Centre, it is one of the largest mosques in the United Kingdom.
  • UK. London. 2011. Iythar, an Egyptian-British fine artist, paints at her studio. One of her paintings [top-left] is titled, ‘The Way Sarkozy Intended It’. She said, “It is an interpretation of the burqa ban in France. It shows how the ban takes away the voice and identity of Muslim women, leaving them speechless and incomplete”.
  • USA. Bridgeview, Illinois. 2010. Amina Demir [left] and her younger sister were in their car when a middle-aged Caucasian male in a car next to them shouted, ‘sand nigger’ and drove away. Amina followed his car, noted the license plate number and reported him to the police. A local court later sentenced the man to 150 hours of community service.
  • UK. London. 2011. Muslims, alongwith members of Neturei-Karta, an organization of Orthodox Jews, protest outside the Israeli Embassy to mark the third anniversary of Israel's attack on Gaza. Members of Neturei-Karta refuse to recognize the existence or authority of the ‘State of Israel’ and make a point of publicly demonstrating their position, the position of the Torah and authentic unadulterated Judaism.
  • UK. Birmingham. 2011. Negar Yousafzai, a British Afghan, is an educated and well informed young woman. Here she asks, “Who wants to hear the social or political opinions of a veiled woman like me. They only want to see pictures of oppressed Afghan women”.
  • UK. London. 2011. Ghost train and its passengers during a Community Fair.
  • USA. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 2011. Aseem Hasnain said, “I am not only a Muslim but many other things too. To categorize someone primarily in a religious template is a very statist and dangerous practice. Let me be a multiplicity of persons, an intersection of identities.” Hasnain is pursuing his PhD in Sociology at the University of North Carolina.
  • USA. Columbia, Missouri. 2010. Caitlyn Green [right], and her friend photographed in a field. Caitlyn lives in a small town and converted to Islam more than two years ago. But her catholic mother and relatives do not accept her conversion. Caitlyn said, “People ask me whether a hijab on my head makes me feel uncomfortable. Actually, wearing the hijab is not difficult if people around you understand your religion. Since they cannot accept me with a hijab, it gets difficult for me”.
  • UK. London. 2010. From left, Minhaj, Ashiq, Shofique and Abid pictured just before they left London to attend a gathering on ‘Islam and Young Muslims’ at Birmingham, UK. In the 2001 census, 17% of the Birmingham population identified themselves as Muslim, which is significantly higher than the average for England and Wales of 3.0%.
  • USA. Chicago. 2010. Kaiser Aslam sketches the Chicago city skyline at the Ohio Street beach, as his art sheets fly around. Kaiser said, “It's not easy. There are a lot of temptations in this society but it’s my faith in Allah, and his blessings that shield me from all wrongdoings”.

Bharat Choudary is an Indian freelance photographer based in London. He was recently awarded one of four 2012 Getty Grants for Editorial Photography to continue work on his project The Silence Of 'Others'.

His work so far, presented here, has focused on Muslims living in the USA and the UK. With the grant Bharat aims to continue his work this time focusing on Muslim youth in France.

In a blog post on his website Bharat said of his project - 'The Silence of ‘Others’ began with an objective to document evidences of Islamophobia and to present a balanced understanding of the young Muslim community. To understand those who fail to qualify for an appearance in the formulaic images of Muslims prostrating or burning American/British flags on the streets. This work was consciously designed not to fall for exotic religious rituals or to produce conventional images of veils as symbols of oppression and beards as signs of ‘fundamentalism’. I have worked hard to keep my pictures honest, focusing primarily on human experiences, emotions and aspirations.'

All images © Bharat Choudhary/The Alexia Foundation.