Growing up in Utah I was constantly surrounded by people who shared my religion and culture. While I think Utah is a great place, compared to many other states it isn’t very diverse. Because of this, sometimes people can be dismissive of religions and cultures they don’t understand. I would hear people talk about Muslims or Islam. And sadly, more often than not, what they had to say was negative. When I turned twenty, I left my home to serve a church mission for two years in the eastern half of Spain. While there, I met many amazing people from all different kinds of backgrounds. But probably the nicest and most generous people happened to be Muslim. They taught me about their religion and cultures and welcomed me, a Christian missionary, into their homes with open arms and love.
This experience made me wonder how Muslims are received back in Utah. Many who come here are refugees fleeing war or persecution and looking for a safe place to call home. So I reached out to a few local Islamic groups to ask them how they felt about life as a Utah Muslim and what we can do better to foster a connection between Muslims and Latter-day Saints.
Below you can find my interview with Asim Raja, a local Muslim man. And three posters showing connections between Islamic and LDS teachings. In the center of each poster is the Arabic word for the shared value I'm highlighting. Each of these words was made using photos that I took of the Utah landscape.