There are some crazy things going on in the world right now. To be honest, we’re often left feeling desperately sad because of terror attacks across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. We have been left reeling once again because of the most recent terror attack in America which killed 50 people and left 53 injured in a brutal hate crime on the LGBT club Pulse in Orlando, Florida.

We came across the #IAmMuslim project by NATIVE VML and People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP), a South African non-profit that advocates for equality, justice, and human rights for all. The series speaks against Islamophobia, intolerance towards the Muslim community, which has spread like wildfire across social media. NATIVE VML constructed portraits of Muslim women from different nationalities wearing their home country flags as traditional Islamic hijab.

There are some hateful, terrible people and groups out there but they are not the entire culture and people. These images remind us to look at the ordinary face of the Muslim identity.

“We are fully aware that certain quarters may find these images controversial, but the point of this movement is to challenge the prejudices people may have, and change the way we think about a culture that has been unjustly defined by the actions of a select few,” said Ryan McManus, Executive Creative Director at NATIVE VML.

While social media has the potential to do great good, it also often amplifies divisive voices, making these ones heard loudest. Through social media some disturbed individuals spend their time relentlessly attempting to cast Islam and the Muslim community worldwide in a negative light. NATIVE VML hopes that this campaign will inspire people in other countries to create similar images that will spread the message and help shift the conversation.

We must all stand together in peace and allow love to conquer hate in any form. You can join the conversation by checking out #IAmMuslim.

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