Islamic Art and Culture
American Creations
a reporting project of Round Earth Media

Tom Franklin for Round Earth Media

Laila Lalami • Ellen Schmidt for Round Earth Media

Iftar • Paul Middlestaedt for REM

Eslah Attar for Round Earth Media

Ifrah Mansour • Caroline Yang for Round Earth Media

Rahim AlHaj • Pinar Istek for Round Earth Media

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our purpose

In an era of misinformation and outrage, one of the most fraught relationships is the one between 3.5 million American Muslims and their neighbors. This project is Round Earth Media’s contribution to addressing that tension.

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Time and again, the arts and culture have proven to be among the most effective ways of overcoming misunderstanding. Literature, fashion and food have a role, as well as music, drama, comedy, rituals and celebrations. One of the surest ways of putting culture before a broader audience is to share the stories of the thoughtful, energetic people who create it.

Round Earth Media is reaching out across the country in an ambitious two-year effort to dig out underreported stories. We are seeking examples of those who are using culture to put an innovative spin on the American Dream, and those who are shutting out the vitriol to learn more about each other’s lives, culture and traditions. Our aim is to give them the widest possible audience – through publication in mainstream media, both in the United States and in Muslim-majority countries.

Ramadan Mubarak lantern | Tom Franklin for Round Earth Media
Ramadan Mubarak lantern | Tom Franklin for Round Earth Media

Recent Stories:

As halal food wins over new audiences, some fear it’s losing its soul

By Kimberly Winston | July 18, 2019 | Comments Off on As halal food wins over new audiences, some fear it’s losing its soul

The market for halal food is expanding rapidly. But where some see opportunity, other see an attempt to reduce religious faith to a marketing buzzword. Sameer Sarmast’s adventurous appetite long ago moved…

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With his oud, this musician transports audiences to Iraq

By Stephen Franklin | July 9, 2019 | Comments Off on With his oud, this musician transports audiences to Iraq

Rahim AlHaj, who has been nominated for Grammys, hopes to draw attention to the experiences of those caught in violent conflict in Iraq and elsewhere. Rahim AlHaj knows about loss. He knows…

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Somali and American: Portrait of a Minnesota Community

By Aida Alami | July 2, 2019 | Comments Off on Somali and American: Portrait of a Minnesota Community
Fosia Omar, 20, enjoys a conversation with friends while waiting for the sun to set to break the fast for the day on May 25, 2018. The Waite Park resident is a student at St. Cloud State University and is planning on majoring in psychology.

Refugees often say that war feels like a wave of violence washing over them, leaving behind death and destruction. The feeling was no different for Katra Ali Hethar, who fled war-torn Somalia…

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Telling stories that all can enjoy

By Nesima Aberra | June 3, 2019 | Comments Off on Telling stories that all can enjoy
Sanari gets her copy of the book, “Under My Hijab,” signed by children’s book author Hena Khan at the public library in Takoma Park, Maryland, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.

Children’s books with Muslim characters can help open minds, and provide kids with role models that have stories like theirs. Zara is a curious young Muslim girl with curly brown hair whose…

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More stories coming soon...

Our Method

At Round Earth Media, we believe that there is power in good journalism; that there is a hunger for real information extending deep into our growing “news deserts.”

We also believe that, even as the collapse of their traditional model has hollowed out U.S. media organizations, a generation of young journalists is eager for the chance to reinvent that model for the 21st century.

We know the stories haven’t disappeared; it’s just that there often is no one left to tell them.

Our experienced editors prioritize finding knowledgeable young journalists, and then work with them to create vivid stories – in works, in images and in sound – that meet the craft’s highest standards

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