By Zoe Szathmary, Daily Mail
Members of America’s first Muslim fraternity have been photographed for a photo series called ‘A New Identity.’
The pictures, taken by Dylan Hollingsworth, capture rush events for Alif Laam Meem (ALM) at University of Texas at Dallas, as well as day-to-day activities for fraternity members. Hollingsworth, along with Wheeler Sparks, hopes to turn his efforts into a documentary about the group as a way of exploring Muslim American identity.
Hollingsworth first got in contact with ALM after spending a summer abroad and taking photographs in Palestine. On his website, he says his Christian, Jewish, and even friends from Texas were concerned and did not react positively to his work.
‘[…] I may have lost a few rural Texas facebook friends that just weren’t real comfortable with seeing images portraying in a positive light a people that Post-911 America has taught them to fear,’ he says.
Hollingsworth’s photographs show members laughing, playing dodge-ball, sharing meals, and gathering for prayer together. He says members of ALM are like anybody else.
‘I laugh a lot with these guys and it’s been a good escape from a growing pressure within my own life,’ he says on his website. ‘My time with them has revealed that these are just regular college kids, mostly born and raised in America.’
However, he adds on his site they do have priorities slightly different from typical fraternities.
‘They have their share of fun like any other dudes their age-pranks, nut slapping and all that good stuff,’ he says. ‘But they also differ from your typical fraternity in a few ways. Their priorities and even requirements are growing closer to Allah, serving their community, diligence with their studies and obedience to their parents.