Jonathan Alpeyrie was born in France and lives in the United States. He has worked as a freelance photographer for various publications and websites, including the Sunday Times, Le Figaro magazine, American Photo, and the BBC, and is currently a photographer for Polaris Images. His career spans over a decade and has taken him to more than 25 countries where he has covered 12 conflict zone assignments in the Middle East and North Africa, The South Caucasus and Central Asia.
In 2013, he was abducted in Syria and held for 81 days until a ransom was paid for his release.
This photograph is of the first openly gay Imam, Daayiee Abdullah, who is based in Washington, DC. For him, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, but his sexuality is viewed as incompatible with Islam. Most Imams in the United States and abroad are against his openness about his sexuality and have severely condemned him. Many have asked him to stop preaching and to renounce Islam. Even Islam, the most conservative monotheist religion in the world, has been touched by this important human rights issue.
The Allard Prize Photography Competition Jury selected this photograph for its reflection of a lone fight and courageous leadership within a major religious organization for tolerance of an oppressed minority.”