Last year, CL contributor Lara Americo debuted her photo series “Trans & Queer in the Workplace” in Creative Loafing between August and December. The series was eventually picked up by Huffington Post and served as the basis for Americo’s Chrysalis exhibit at C3 Lab. This year, Americo is highlighting another marginalized and misunderstood population, the local Muslim population.
Throughout the year, we have run photos and videos photo featuring insights from different Muslim Charlotteans, as they discuss their work, personal lives and the judgement they often live with. This week, she features Ihsan Al-Zouabi.
Ihsan Al-Zouabi, a 23-year-old graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, feels there’s a “constant spotlight” on her as a criminal justice major. Her father is from Syria and her mother is from Jordan. They moved to Charlotte in 1992.
"I’ve been very blessed that I haven’t had to face so many things that my friends have had to face. I have friends who have been physically attacked. I have friends who have had their hijabs torn off. I had a friend who was praying on her university campus in between bookshelves and when she went in to sujood, which is the position where you prostrate onto the ground, a man came and kicked her in the head. I’ve been really blessed and sheltered I think to have not gone through that but you know other people are which is why it’s important to talk about this.
“I think any city can do better, specifically with refugees. Charlotte can do much better, especially with their resettlement initiatives. We have a lot to give, there’s a lot of communities here who are doing incredible work, but when it comes to people who are fleeing war — a war that’s been occurring in their country for over five years now — I don’t think there’s ever enough that we can do. So Charlotte on a community level has made a lot of great strides, but there’s always more.”