Bassam: It's 8400 miles to Dearborn, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of medjool dates, it's the crack of dawn, and we're not wearing kufis.
There is nothing like a road trip. It is the best thing in the world when you get in a car with your best bud and hit the road with a destination and only one rule: have as much fun as possible, every step of the way.
In Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq’s road trip blog, 30 Mosques 30 States, they’re doing exactly that – having as much fun as possible, every mosque of the way. Last year they did the 30 Mosques project for a lark: they enjoyed an iftar (fast breaking) meal in a different mosque in New York City every night of the month of Ramadan. An awesome idea in and of itself (me: jealous that’s not just possible, but practical. How can you not love NYC?), they’ve upped the ante this year. They’re doing 30 mosques in 30 states, a different state every night. Oh yeah...
One thing they’ll see that most of us stationary types won’t is the range of Muslims even within one country. In an NPR interview with the guys (this year there’s lots of media attention), Aman talks about the mosque in Maine where there seemed to be a high percentage of converts and interracial couples. No fear of a beige planet there.
This project is such a blast. Not just because of the road trip aspect, or the diversity aspect, but because we see cheerful, humanized, real Muslims exist everywhere, all celebrating the great traditions of Ramadan in their own ways. It would be so cool to do a project like this in the Toronto area, then across Canada too. Not only do we – Alhamdulillah – have a whole bunch of mosques in Toronto, but there’s a stunning amount of ethnic diversity in the city. A cliché it may be, but it’s still true: what unites us is far greater than what divides us. (Thanks, JFK!) If you want to help them out a bit financially, there's a little ChipIn donation widget on the main page of their blog.
For every one of you who knows that we’re nothing like the right-wing nutcases describe us, you’ll find this blog a fun, refreshing slice of reality. I wonder where they’ll celebrate Eid?
The next logical step: 30 mosques in 30 countries in 30 days. This would be totally doable in Europe, dudes!
Aman: Hit it.