During my school years they had class lists with the student’s names and their confession of faith written on them. Whenever someone noticed the word 'Islam' next to my name, I explained: "That’s just because of my dad". I was not sure yet, if I really believed in Islam. But growing up in Austria meant, there was always freedom to find out.

Currently fear of Islam is growing in Europe and Muslims are subject to increasing rejection and acts of aggression. Because there is not enough positive representation of Islam, we need to intensify the dialogue about our coexistence. Islam and home, Islam and sexuality, Islam and feminism, Islam and European values – those things are not contrary and young Muslims now live more independently and liberated from religious and cultural rules.

“EURO ME ISLAM ME” lets young people with a Muslim background explain to us what their personal story and interpretation of Islam looks like. All of them grew up within a mix of Oriental, Islamic, European and Western culture – they are part of a global generation, that exists in between cultures and beyond borders.

I hate the term “integration”. For a lot of people it means to blend in and to become like everyone else. I think this is very dangerous. Our society loses diversity, culture of debate, freedom of speech, language and culture.By Shirin Omran
I grew up in Iran in a family of atheists, but at the same time I went to a school where I was taught to be a Muslim. These were two totally opposite worlds. It was a paradox, a source of confusion. By Shirin Omran
It is annoying that people often demand of me to take a stand. To know exactly who I am, when I’m still getting to know myself. In our current time, you always have to explain what you represent and who you are. By Shirin Omran
I don’t think I would have found Islam on my own. My parents are very religious and I’ve spent a lot of time with them. Still, I could see things the way I wanted to. There was maximum religion at home and an European environment around me.By Shirin Omran
To understand, that I am allowed to believe the things I want to believe, was an obstacle for me. I think many muslims face this exact obstacle, so that Islam will change and develop further. By Shirin Omran
I don’t believe in Islam. It is the religion that is closest to me and I can make most sense out of it. But essentially I reject every kind of religion.By Shirin Omran

See Also

zenith Photo Award 2014

The third edition of the zenith Photo Award called upon professional and amateur photographers alike to pick up their cameras and take part in the debate on what Islam in Germany looks like.