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Group Description

Traditional Islamic arts, food, architecture, events, and daily life from around the world.

Themes: architecture, calligraphy, food, mosque, patterns, people (kids, women, men), prayers, Quran, wedding

Nations: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Arabia, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China/Xinjiang, Columbia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Djiboutii, Dubai, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jerusalem, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Kosova, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mecca/Medina, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tibet, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad/Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, UK, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, USA, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

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The very best photos are awarded a place on the Islam & Muslim Cultures Photoblog web stats

Open to people of all faiths and backgrounds!

Group Rules

This group exists to highlight traditional Islamic arts and cultural life. This means not only photos of mosques, calligraphy, and artworks (although those are certainly very welcome) but also photos of everyday Muslim family life, special events and traditional dress. Excellent examples of the types of photos that belong here are found on the Muslim Cultures photoblog.

This group is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds, so feel free to invite anyone who has an interest in learning about Muslim Cultures or (better yet) has some great photos to share with us. Thank you for joining! :-)


Group Guidelines
If you'd like to have a better idea of what sort of photos are relevant to the group, or if some of your photos have been removed from the photo pool and you're wondering why, please give this a read!

1) Are only Muslim-majority cultures allowed?
No! Many Muslim populations have developed their own distinctive yet authentically Islamic cultures despite having minority status. China and India are perhaps the best examples, and this group was partly inspired by an essay entitled "British and Muslim?" which explores what it means to be a traditional British Muslim. Islam has traditionally had a strong provincial flavour, adapting to local tastes as indigenous populations from Africa to Europe to Southeast Asia made Islam their own, and any photos which demonstrate the continuing diversity of the Muslim world are particularly appreciated. Similarly, photos depicting other faith groups living harmoniously in Muslim-majority regions are also welcome.


2) Discerning Traditional from Non-traditional
Please do not post (for example) photos of fancy skyscrapers simply because they are located in Muslim countries; the idea is to visually capture expressions that can in some way be traced back to sacred, traditional principles.

Note that "traditional" does not necessarily mean "old" or "not of the present age", it simply means that the subject is recognizably a continuation of traditional values, whether aesthetic or moral. So, if you do post a photo of a skyscraper, it should contain some sort of architectural element that is demonstrably related to an authentic tradition. For example, the exterior of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai doesn't exhibit any significant traditional elements, so it doesn't belong in the pool. However, the arches at the base of the former World Trade Center in New York were (somewhat ironically) inspired by traditional Islamic-Arabian architecture, and so a photo of these arches would belong in the pool.


3) Political photos
Photos which are primary political (rather than cultural) in nature do not belong in the photo pool. People come to this pool mainly to get an idea of what traditional Muslim life is like, not to catch up on the news. So, no signs of placard-waving people, war crimes, extremists, etc. As Sheikh Tim Winter has said, "Politics is one cell within the body of Islam. If it grows unduly, it is a cancer." Also, political photos tend to be 'of the moment', meaning they are of little interest once the political situation changes, and we don't want the group archives filled with photos whose relevance has expired.

That said, political photos ARE welcome in the discussion area. A good example is this thread, which collected photos of traditional Muslims peacefully protesting the notorious Danish cartoons of 2006. Please try to keep photos concerning the same issue to the same discussion thread-- if your photos concern the conflict in Palestine or Lebanon, for example, please append them to the end of the existing discussion thread rather than start a new one each time the conflict flares up.

Discussion of political issues should be substantive and constructive. That is, it should contain non-trivial information or questions, and it should be posted with the aim of creating greater understanding. A posting that simply says "look at what X is doing" in a complaining or whining fashion will likely be deleted.


4) What qualifies as "Muslim", for the purposes of this group?
Although the group administrator aims to be a traditional Sunni-Hanafi Muslim with an interest in sufism, photos related to peoples of any of the eight mutually-recognized schools of Islamic jurisprudence are welcome in the pool. This broad definition covers virtually all traditional populations, including Sunni and Shi'a ones, traditional Sufi orders, etc.


5) Other miscellaneous criteria
a) There should be a cultural aspect to your photo. Broadly speaking, this means there should be some sign of human activity. A photo of a camel doesn't belong in the pool, unless that camel is wearing a traditional costume or taking part in a human endeavour. Similarly, a landscape which shows absolutely no signs of human activity is also not relevant to the group (though we do occasionally let a particularly nice one slip in), but a landscape which shows (for example) a cityscape or minaret in the distance would likely be welcome.
b) Photos which don't seem to respect the privacy of the subject will be removed. For example, clandestine shots of Muslims waiting at bus stops are inappropriate.
c) We value quality over quantity. Don't submit all of your relevant photos unless they are at least of average quality in terms of composure, lighting, resolution, etc. Grainy cameraphone photos are unlikely to qualify, as are poorly composed shots of Muslim passersby on the streets of London or New York. However, if the subject of the photo reveals something of special interest, the technical quality of the photo can be overlooked. And if you have a long series of very similar photos, please submit only the best ones unless they are all of outstanding quality.
d) This is not a venue for computer generated or amateur art, though exceptions can be made for work that meets traditional standards.
e) Watermarks are fine so long as they are discreet and do not interfere too much with enjoyment of the photo.

Additional Info

  • Members can post 13 things to the pool each day.
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Videos, Images, Art
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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