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What Does a Muslim Look Like?

What does a Muslim look like? Do the volunteers in the video below, clearing a Delaware highway of litter, look like Muslims to you? As I was setting up my camera, one of the volunteers, Murat, who is interested that I’m into interfaith work, told me this story:

When I was in Atlanta Georgia attending a conference, professor Jill Carroll, who wrote Dialogue of Civilizations, was asked why Muslims didn’t speak out against the 9-11 attacks. Many did, of course, but their protests didn’t get much attention from the media. This story shows why:  Professor Carroll called a press conference after the attacks. A number of Muslim speakers had already gone to the podium to express their outrage. They were dressed in coats and ties, and some were not bearded. Professor Carroll noticed that none of the press were filming the speakers, and she asked them why. “They didn’t look like Muslims,” they said.

What does a Muslim look like? Stereotypical “profiles” of what Muslims look like (and act like) arise from scant and often biased information. Profiling people leads to faulty assumptions about who they really are. Turkey is by in large a Muslim country. The American citizens from Turkey who devoted a day to cleaning up a highway are in fact, all Muslim. But you might not know that if they didn’t tell you, because they don’t look  like foreigners. And if you spend time getting to know them you probably will discover that whatever notions you had about Muslims differ a good deal from what you experience in their company. I have found that these Muslim citizens who have made a new home in Delaware love this place as much as I do, and are very willing to lend a hand to make it even better.

What is your image of a Muslim? Do think it would hold up to deeper experience?


  1. Alp Alp

    That was such a wonderful day. Thanks for joining us!

  2. Yasin Yasin

    You feel better when you do a good deed. Contributing the community where you live gives you such a feeling. Thank you for joining us and writing this wonderful article.

  3. Volkan Alev Volkan Alev

    Very good job. Thanks every one for their contribution to our community.

  4. Siddik Siddik

    Thank for your help and your contribution to this activity. I was very glad to be there and I look forward to attending next highway cleaning.

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