News / USA

Two US Muslims Visit 30 Mosques in 30 US States During Ramadan

Multimedia

Audio

Amid the backdrop of the controversy surrounding plans for an Islamic center near the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and as a pastor in the southeastern state of Florida draws headlines for sponsoring a Quran burning, two young Muslim men have set out to discover America - Islamic America.  Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are visiting 30 mosques in 30 states in 30 days.

And they are documenting their experiences on their website:  30mosques.com.

Aman Ali
Aman Ali

Aman Ali traces his ability to tell a story to his upbringing in a small town in the Midwestern state of Ohio. "I was not only the only Muslim at school, I was the only minority.  And so, I wasn't just explaining to people what being a Muslim was.  I was explaining to them why I wasn't black," he said.

Since the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, Ali says he has felt as though not only his religion has been hijacked by terrorists, but also the story of Muslims in the United States.

"I feel that there hasn't been anybody out there that has been telling the story of Muslims correctly, so it's time that we as Muslims tell our own stories about what Islam is like for each of us," he said.

Together with his friend Bassam Tariq, Ali set out in 2009 to document on the Internet the Muslim experience in New York City.

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, they visited 30 mosques in 30 days around the city's five boroughs.

What Ali says he learned from the experience is that Muslims are a permanent part of the American landscape. "Muslims aren't just practicing their religion, they are here to stay.  They are integrating themselves and weaving themselves into the American social fabric," he said.

Bassam-Tariq
Bassam-Tariq

Bassam Tariq says the 2009 project gave rise to their more ambitious plan to document the Muslim experience across the country. "It's 30 days, 30 states, 30 mosques," he said.

Ali and Tariq's "Ramadan Road Trip" began last month at an Islamic prayer room in New York City.  

Their month-long journey took them to the oldest mosque in North America - in small town of Ross, North Dakota - and to an adobe mosque on a New Mexico mountain top.

After traveling nearly 18,000 kilometers and meeting hundreds of people eager to share their stories, the two men arrived at a Shia mosque on the outskirts of Chicago, where they were just as eager to share their story with us.

With only a few days left in their adventure, Tariq says they have yet to encounter any backlash against Muslims. "We haven't run into any communities that have had any problems with their neighbors.  In fact, we've seen the opposite," he said.

Ali says he sees their journey and how they are documenting their experiences on the Internet as a way to change perceptions about Muslims in America. "I've traveled a lot overseas.  And people in other countries, in general, think Muslims are oppressed here.  And I don't want to downplay the severity of hate crimes and security issues and things like that, but it's not representative of our lifestyle whatsoever," he said.

Tariq and Ali say that days spent fasting on the road and nights spent eating at different mosques in communities across the country has also been a journey of self-discovery.

"Going around Muslim America, and really seeing how broad of a definition of America people are willing to accept - both Muslim and non-Muslim - I mean, this is home.  I feel like this is home," said Tariq.

"We are not two-dimensional characters," said Ali.  "We live in this country; we contribute to this economy; we go to public school; we're human beings.  We play basketball.  I like Bon Jovi.  You know, I do things just like anyone else.  I'm a Muslim.  I'm proud of who I am, and I'm accepting of other cultures as well."

The final leg of Tariq and Ali's journey will take them to Tennessee and Michigan, before returning to New York City where they will celebrate the end of Ramadan on September 11.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid