Halal Metropolis is an exhibition that celebrates Southeast Michigan’s Muslim community and the cultural diversity it brings to Detroit. The exhibition runs through July 20 at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design.
“We are trying to show the diversity of this community … of Muslims of so many backgrounds … they are creating communities out of almost nothing in some cases.” —Sally Howell, University of Michigan Dearborn
Listen: Halal Metropolis puts a spotlight on Detroit’s Muslim voices.
Osman Khan is an associate professor at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design and co-curator of Halal Metropolis. He says people who view the exhibition will see that “the Muslim community has been a part of Detroit’s story for a long time … the other thing is the new aesthetics and the hybridity of cultures.” Khan says there are numerous different perspectives featured in the project from all of the different Muslim groups in Detroit. “Muslim narratives and voices are not a monolith.”
Khan says it’s easy to find halal restaurants in the city, which is one example that, “there’s a kind of easiness of being in Detroit … the rise of mosques … but also the rise of [Muslim] communities.”
Sally Howell is director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan Dearborn and co-curator of Halal Metropolis. She says the exhibition also highlights the history of Detroit’s Muslim community. “We are trying to show the diversity of this community … of Muslims of so many backgrounds … they are creating communities out of almost nothing in some cases.” Howell says Detroit’s Muslim community developed significantly because of its already large presence in the city. “The thing that makes Detroit a center [of Muslim life] is the fact that there were these existing mosques, these existing communities … now we have all this new immigration … They come here because here they see this thriving community and they want to be a part of it.”