Oral History Interview with Tasneem Joseph on January 30, 2021

Oral History Interview with Tasneem Joseph on January 30, 2021



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Joseph, Tasneem


Cook, Ayesha; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Tasneem Joseph conducted by Ayesha Cook on January 30, 2021. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook. Tasneem Joseph was born in Detroit, Michigan, on July 2, 1989, to Muslim parents who hailed from Michigan and Tennessee. From a young age, Joseph’s parents encouraged her to study Islam and to nurture her creativity. Growing up, Joseph read many books about Islam from her family’s extensive library and attended Masjid An-Nur in Highland Park. She also developed skills in crafting jewelry, poetry, and photography. Later on, she continued to hone her skills as an artist, while engaging with other Michigan Muslim institutions and initiatives such as The Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Masjid al-Haqq, Wayne State University Islamic Center of Detroit, Masjid Al-Tawheed, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, and the Muslim Enrichment Project. Joseph became the first artist-in-residence at the Indus Detroit, an establishment that is part of a network of Michigan Muslim-run community organizations. As an artist, Joseph serves the Muslim community in many ways, for example by photographing events for Dream of Detroit, The Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, and other Muslim institutions. Now, as a member of the Tijaniyyah community, Joseph actively seeks out opportunities to further her education in Islamic Sciences, Arabic language study, and Qur’an memorization. In the interview, Joseph describes how she has continued to maintain ties to various Islamic study and worship groups during the COVID-19 pandemic through online gatherings. Joseph also elaborates on her long-term creative mission to celebrate the Detroit Muslim community through her art, while promoting a better public understanding of Muslim Americans.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Imam Luqman Abdullah, Adult education, African American Islamic Institute of Medina Baye Senegal (AAII), African dance, African-American history, African-American museum, African-American Muslim history, African-American Muslims, Shaykh Ali Suleiman Ali, Arabic language education, Artist-in-residence, Artistic expression, Atlanta, Baptist Christianity, Belle Isle Eid cookout, Black Panther Party, Black Tie Collective, Block party, Bookstore, Canton, Cass Masjid, Chanting, Charles H. Wright Museum, Chattanooga, Church community, Civil Rights movement, Communication, Community cleanup, Community dinners, Community photography, Community travel, Construction, Conversion to Islam, Cosmetology, COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Crain, Dearborn, Declaration of faith, Dequindre Street, Detroit, DeviantArt.com, Dhikr, Distance learning, Dream of Detroit, Drug epidemic, Eastside Detroit, Education, Eid, Malik El-Shabazz El-Hajj, Event photographer, Family relationships, Farming, Financial sustainability, Friday prayer, Fundraising, General Education Development (GED), Georgia, The Great Migration, Hadith, Halal Metropolis exhibit, Halallywood, Headscarf, High school football game, Highland Park, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, History of Islam in Detroit, Homeschooling, Hospitality, Housing renovation, Iftar, Indus Detroit, Intergenerational relations, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic Community of As Salaam, Islamic Organization of North America (IONA), Islamophobia, Jewelry making, Journeyman, Shaykh Ibrahim Cisse Kafani, Imam Saleem Khalid, Lifelong learning, Love-of-self, Malcolm X, Martial arts, Martial arts movies, Masjid Al-Haqq, Masjid Al-Nur, Masjid Al-Tawheed, Medical clinic, Medina Baye, Mentorship, Michigan, Modest dress, Motherhood, Musician, Muslim Americans, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim community, Muslim Enrichment Project (MEP), Muslim fitness classes, Muslim sports leagues, Muslim women's events, Muslim women's spaces, Muslim youth programming, Muslims, Nasrul Ilm America, Nation of Islam, Neighborly Needs, New York, Penn Foster Career School, Photography, Photography of Muslim Americans, Poet, Prophet Muhammed, Public school, Qur'an, Qur'an classes, Qur'an memorization, Qur'an recitation, Qur'an school, Racism, Ramadan, Reading, Omar Regan, Religious community, Reversion to Islam, Ruhul Adab Group, Saudi Arabia, Seed beads, Semantics, Senegal, Senegalese Americans, September 11 attacks, Shahada, Skilled trades, Social impact, Social media, Soddy-Daisy, Soup kitchen, Spoken word poetry, Sports, Sunni Islam, Tawheed Center of Detroit, Tennessee, Thompson Correspondence School, Tijaniyyah community, Video games, Vocabulary lessons, Volunteerism, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Dr. Bilal Ware, Wayne State University Islamic Center of Detroit, Wedding photographer, West Africa, West African and African-American Muslim relations, Westin Hotel, Wolof language, Women's role in Islam, Woodrow Wilson Street, Woodward Eid Cruise, Work ethic, Writer, Zawiya, Zoom community


African American Studies | Africana Studies | American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Inequality and Stratification | Islamic Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted by Ayesha Cook at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook. Interview recorded under the direction of Renee Mohamed. Videography by Samayyah Cook. Video Edited by: Jayden Sibley. Transcribed by: Sara Faraj. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Hannah Cole. Metadata edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins and Sophia Wimberley.



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Rights Statement

Dream of Detroit Interviews were made possible by funding from the Pillars Grant and Whiting Foundation. Content is for educational purposes only and non-reproducible; interviews are not to be duplicated, but may be linked through ScholarWorks with appropriate attribution. Please direct any questions about copyright to scholarworks@wmich.edu.


Pillars Fund and Whiting Foundation


Dream of Detroit

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Oral History Interview with Tasneem Joseph on January 30, 2021