The Visual Advocate Blog

I am still alive!

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For those of you who are following and may have, for just a second even, wondered if I was still alive I have good news for you…..I am! I have not blogged in several weeks due to a variety of things such as:

So amidst all those things I have been a little busy, but I thought I would finally take some time and sit down today to write. Many of you have asked for the story behind the Jesus Dialogue and the Muslim American Political Action Council Banquet, so I thought I would briefly share about these two events.

First, the Jesus Dialogue. The short story is that was a dialogue between followers of Jesus and Muslims about who Jesus is, according to their different faith perspectives. I had a great time at this event and was so encouraged and inspired to see so many examples of people of faith coming together to pursue a deeper and richer understanding of each others lives and faiths. The images below are just a few from the evening. I am working on putting together a photo story about the event, which I will hopefully get done soon. You can visit my website if you want to see more images of the Jesus Dialogue.

Muslim men bowing in prayer

Imam Sameh, talking to his table during the meal

Imam Sameh and a local pastor from Raleigh greeting each other

The next event I photographed was the 9th Annual Banquet for the Muslim American Political Action Council, which is an advocacy group for Muslims in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. The keynote speakers, Former American Senator Mark Siljander and the Washington Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera News, Dr. Abderrahim Foukara, did a great job touching on sensitive but highly important issues.

Again, I am working on a longer photo story, but have posted a few images below. You can see more images of the Banquet on my website.

Mark Siljander addresses the crowd as the moderator, Maha Mokhtar Zaghloul, and Dr. Abderrahim Foukara listen.

During the event, many Muslims took time out to perform their prayers in the makeshift prayer room

Muslim performing their prayers

Another angle on their prayers

So there you have it! There’s a “snapshot” of what I have been up to lately. I really do count it a privilege to get to be one of just so many use my craft to tell stories of hope and reconciliation, especially in a day and age when our news channels are filled with images of hate, violence and war.

What is also great is how many chances I have, because of these images and opportunities, to share my experiences in the Muslim World with others. So I would love to hear from you. What questions do you have? What experiences have you had in your own photographic adventures and otherwise,  that have led you to move beyond stereotypes you once held? How, because of these experiences do you have a deeper and richer understanding, appreciation love for Muslims, Christians or other peoples, cultures or religions that are different than you!

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Author: The Visual Advocate

Joe Murray, The Visual Advocate, is a Humanitarian and Cultural photographer based in Decatur, Georgia. Joe began his photographic career as an adventure and landscape photographer, but a month-long trip to India in 2009 deeply impacted him and proved to be a turning point in his life and photographic vision. Today, Joe is dedicated to using his craft to create and share compelling images and stories of the lives of the peoples and cultures of the world. While Joe loves and appreciates all the peoples and cultures of the world, he has a particular vision, passion and love for India and South Asia. As both an experienced photographer, public speaker, recruiter and advocate, Joe's goal as a visual artist is not simply to create awareness, but to move people to use their lives and resources to be a blessing to the world's most poor, abused, displaced, stereotyped and overlooked peoples.

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