(Tommy Alexander / MJ)
The Muslim Graves Exhibit will be on display on the second floor of Mardigian Library through May 6, 2012. (Tom Alexander / MJ)

BY LAURA CLARK, Staff Writer

Over the past few years, Dr. Ronald Stockton, a political science professor at UM-Dearborn, ventured to several different graveyards in Southeast Michigan to take pictures of over 1,000 Muslim gravestones.

“Nobody has ever done this. Nobody ever thought, ‘Why don’t we do an exhibit on Muslim gravestones in America?’” Dr. Stockton said.

But now someone has.

This act, driven by a lifelong passion for graveyards, resulted in Dr. Stockton creating an exhibit out of these photographs so other people could enjoy them the same way he had. “I’ve spent days in these graveyards. It’s amazing what you learn from gravestones. You learn history and culture. You learn about a person’s life and what they valued in life. The gravestone is the last chance to tell the world who you were, or what your survivors admired in you,” he said.

The Muslim graves represent a wide range of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and countries, who are buried in at least 20 different locations in southeast Michigan. Most of them had diverse ways of conveying their beliefs or expressing themselves.

Some of the stones included an emphasis on hobbies, marriage, heritage, military service, or faith in God. Some graveyards were large and contained detailed and elegant stones; some were small and had simple stones made of wood. But every one was unique in its own way. Of the 1000 pictures taken, Dr. Stockton took the best 39 and put them on display in Mardigian Library in an exhibit that will run until the beginning of May.

The Muslim Graves Exhibit will be on display on the second floor of Mardigian Library through May 6, 2012. It will then travel to Ann Arbor and other select locations. Make sure to stop by and check it out it before it’s gone.