Mirko Petricevic

9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States by Muslim extremists made many minority religious communities targets for negative attention. At that time, Mirko Petricevic was a religion reporter-photographer at the Waterloo Region Record in Kitchener, Ontario.
In the wake of 9/11, it was his responsibility to learn about Islam and Muslims and introduce them to an unacquainted public. “It was my hope,” says Mirko, “that informing our readers, without being an uncritical propagandist for any religious community, would reduce the tension between neighbours who were, in fact, strangers.” This photo of Shiite imam Shafiq Hudda was part of a photo-essay series, published in 2005–06, that explored the roles of various religious leaders. Hudda is leading a workshop for spiritual care workers (volunteers and chaplains) at a local hospital.
“It shows a Muslim religious leader with a smile,” says Hudda, “which is often rare in the contemporary Western media. More often than not, Muslims, especially religious leaders, are shown angry, and very serious, with negative stereotypes abounding. The photo showed that even Muslim imams have a sense of humour and do smile!” He thanked the Record “for taking such steps in cultivating an environment in which harmony amongst the various faith traditions can flourish.”

Mirko Petricevic worked for twenty-five years as a photographer and reporter-photographer at the Waterloo Region Record in Kitchener, ON, before moving to the paper’s copy-editing desk in early 2012.
Mirko was born in Toronto and raised on a farm 100 km west of the city. He has a bachelor’s degree in photography, a master’s degree in journalism and is currently studying theology (part-time) at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (Wilfrid Laurier University).