I didn’t plan to do anything at the Republican National Convention last summer beyond shooting some photos. I was there as a photojournalist. But just after landing in Cleveland, as I waited in line to get in, a man in full Thomas Jefferson costume approached me and asked: “Are you Muslim?” I told him yes. He told me Islam was evil.
I’m used to this: People openly stared when I photographed the new World Trade Center being built on assignment in Manhattan. But in Cleveland, when I talked to people—really talked to them—I could tell meeting a real Muslim face to face made some kind of impact.
I’ve come to believe that many Americans are motivated by fear. Fear that I’ll force women to cover themselves. Fear that they’ll be subject to Sharia law. Fear that I’d kill if given the chance. So I’m going to confront those fears, one by one. In “Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail?,” a new Slate video series, I’m going to travel and meet with anti-Muslim activists, state legislatures, and my own family to find out if there really is anything to fear about American Muslims.
This page is continuously updated with new episodes, which also appear on our Facebook page. The series is written and produced by Aymann Ismail and Jeffrey Bloomer, and edited by Aymann Ismail.
We want your ideas for future episodes. Please email email@example.com with suggestions.
Episode 6: Fox News claimed a "Sharia law court" is enforcing Islamic law in Texas. So I went to see it.
Episode 5: I met a “homegrown” Muslim extremist. His story sounded a lot like mine.
Episode 4: Muslims can’t take a joke about Islam? Don’t tell that to these profane Muslim comedians.
Episode 3: Wearing a hijab is complicated. Deciding not to wear one can be even more so.
Episode 2: To Fox News, Ramadan is another reason to be suspicious of Islam. To American Muslims, it’s an experience more profound here than anywhere else.
Episode 1: I want to confront homophobia in my community. I started at the home of a gay alt-right activist who blames Islam.