Justice for Muslims Collective holding an exhibit at the PO Box Collective


American FlagAaron Burden on Unsplash

This Saturday will mark twenty years since the 9/11 attacks were conducted.  As the country mourns for the lives of those lost, unfortunately, Muslim victims of the War on Terror, similar to other years commemorating this anniversary, will be made invisible and expelled from the dominant narrative due to the culture that surrounds this. In the spirit of centering and uplifting Muslim voices who have been impacted by post 9/11 laws and policies, Justice for Muslims Collective will be exhibiting their updated War on Terror timeline at the PO Box Collective in Chicago from Friday, September 10th - Sunday, September 12thThe PO BOX is a creative collective and intergenerational social practice center dedicated to building Rogers Park community through radical art making, mutual aid and programming. The collective embraces a model that centers marginalized voices, confronts systems of oppression while fostering mutual growth and healing.

For those who have not seen the exhibit, this entails a series of posters marking each year from 2001 - 2021 with illustrative depictions of the laws and policies of the War on Terror. The goal of the exhibit is to counter-narrate the War on Terror through Muslim eyes and to demonstrate, through vivid imagery, how Muslim communities, both domestically and abroad, have been impacted by the United States' violence domestically. 

The Justice for Muslims Collective exhibit will be featured alongside the "De-mil-i-ta-rise" portfolio of prints organized in support of Dissenters and in partnership with the American Friends Service Committee and Just Seeds, among others. There will be a soft opening of the exhibit on Friday night (9/10) at 7 PM, limited viewing hours on Saturday (9/11 - hours to be decided), and an official launch on Sunday (9/12).  The schedule on Sunday is tentatively the following:

3:30 - Doors open
4:00 - Presentation by Dr. Maha Hilal, who is the co-director of Justice for Muslims Collective in Washington DC, and author of the forthcoming "Innocent Until Proven Muslim:  Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11"
5:00 - Screen printing of Fund Healthcare Not Warfare T-shirts; or attendees can bring your their own shirt

"It has too often been the case that the stories of Muslim victims have been intentionally minimized, invisibilized, and expelled from the dominant narrative each year on 9/11 and the days following. This goal of this exhibit is to therefore center and uplift the millions of Muslims who have been profiled, surveilled, detained, tortured, and/or murdered in the War on Terror. Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, it's long past due to contend with the brutal state violence that has been inflicted on Muslims domestically and across the globe under the guise of fighting terrorism. This exhibit attempts to do just that," Dr. Hilal tells us.

For attendees, there are quite a few perks including a twenty years of vintage anti-war t-shirt giveaway along with refreshments. Most importantly participants will find community along with concrete ways to take action against the narrative that decriminalizes the innocent.

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I write about culture, politics, parenting, religion, and health. My work has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Vox and Prism Reports among others.

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