A much misunderstood religion (by practitioners and detractors alike), Islam is now and will continue to be a global force.
Not only guiding the lives of 1.6 or so billion Muslims, it is shaping the world we all live in - how we travel (and no, I'm not thinking airport security - much more benevolent matters such as the Quran in the drawer of your hotel bedside table) to how we eat (increasingly halally).
Islam is faithfully, quietly, adherently practised by so, so many, dovetailing peace. Indeed its very name is peaceful. And then others use it as a weapon, screwing and skewing communities and societal psyche. It's just unoriginal (yet always terrifying) divide and conquer.
Sadly, it is this latter abuse of a faith that headlines our news feeds.
It's not Islam. It's thuggery. Impure and simple.
Islam, when practised in good faith, is rad.
And, in today's world, to believe in something (and, more importantly, publicly and privately commit to something) that is good and true - and not just instagrammable - is really quite radical.
To all those who keep the faith and in doing so keep it real.
The Little Black Scarf Long Black Dress women have been with me for some time. I first met them in Riyadh, black abaya clad, scarf optional if you're a foreigner. The abaya is an eyed up and beheld object: a symbol of oppression and suppression? One of piousness and religiosity? Or an indicator of how fashion forward its wearer is?
The Rug Life series is where I go a little gangster. The stylised prayer mat imagery draws on the practice of Islam - the five-times-daily prayer grind, if you will - and the commitment that Muslims make. And it is a real commitment - it takes perseverance and patience and self-determination - it's no easy feat. Islam can guide how a practitioner eats, drinks, sleeps, works, dresses, how they function on a daily basis: it's a way of life. It's the Rug Life. Fist bumps for the millions of Muslims who practice the faith personally and peacefully in their daily lives.
And then you have the thugs who seize on Islam for their own ends, who gang together and practice hate. It becomes a way of life but it is not living. It is no creed to live by and certainly not tattooed knuckles-worthy.
The Shiite series explores the Sunni-Shiite split. The historic and ongoing division of these two groups detracts from the principles and practice of the faith (for all involved) that they all believe in (with a few tweaks here and there). This divide so black and white, the holiness and significance of one's own individual faithful practice is glossed over and sometimes, unfortunately, deepened and reinforced through the active destruction or, at the very least, disdain for 'the other'.