This year Ramadan will begin on approximately August 1 by the Gregorian Calendar, and of course 1 Ramadan by the Hijri calendar, of which Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month.
Last year, among the posts during the month of Ramadan specifically on the topic of the holy month, I included extensive excerpts from the road trip of 2 American Muslims, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq, as they journeyed throughout the USA praying and celebrating in a different mosque in a different state for each of the 30 days of Ramadan. They fasted though travelling, when fasting is not obligatory, but out of personal choice, and to best be in harmony with those with whom they prayed Taraweeh Prayer (the special prayers of Ramadan in addition to the 5 daily prayers) and ate suhoor (breaking the fast) and iftar (dinner).
Amin and Tariq are an engaging pair with excellent writing and photography skills, so that accompanying them vicariously on this journey is a great pleasure. Furthermore, it is a welcome incite into the history and diversity of American Muslims--whether in the USA for generations, or recent arrivals. This is a more realistic portrait of Muslims in America than what I call "CNN Muslims", or better "Media Muslims", who are about as representative of the whole community as those who consistently make the headlines/news anywhere.
Along with an appreciation of the mosques and their communities, one gains an appreciation of the beauty of the American landscape in all its geographical variance, and of current issues for American Muslims in their broader American communities.
Fortunately, Amin and Tariq are back on the road this Ramadan. Below are excerpts from their 2 introductory posts on this year's trip. Further posts following along with them will appear here throughout the month of Ramadan, among the other upcoming Ramadan specific posts.
Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq
We’ve only scratched the surface with all the compelling narratives about Muslims living in this country. Nobody could anticipate all the discoveries we made last year. Now that we’re blessed to have you all as friends, just imagine what we can find this year.
Our journey explored what it means to be Muslim in America today and served as a powerful counter-narrative to the media’s image of a monolithic Islam. This year marks 10-years since 9/11 and unfortunately Muslims are still being tokenized and marginalized for what role they play in this country. It’s reasons like this among a myriad of others as to why this project is one of the only true and authentic portrayals of Muslims in this country.
One of the most beautiful parts of last years project was how you all played a critical role to this project’s success. You suggested places and people for us to meet that we would have never have thought of and you financed the entire thing. We didn’t take a single dime from grants or corporate sponsors.
I’ll be blunt, this project won’t happen this year without your guys support again this year. We want to hear your suggestions of places to visit (email us at email@example.com) and any contribution you can give to the project will help make it a reality.
Aman sampling Chicago airport cuisine
Alaska, here we come!
Hey guys, first off, special thanks to every single one of you that has supported this project. Because of all your support, we not only reached our fundraising goal of $10k, we shattered it by raising well over $12.5k!
Ramadan begins Aug. 1 and our first stop on the trip is Alaska. Yes, there are actually Muslims living in Alaska, over 3,000 in Anchorage alone. We arrived here today because we wanted to hang out for a few days and explore this incredible community. Stay tuned because Monday is going to be a really fun post to kick off the road trip.
In the meantime, bear with us for the next few days as we prepare the site for this year’s trip (new design and all sorts of fun new tech goodies). Many of you guys have been asking where we’ll be heading this year. Below is our tentative route. If you know of any cool places for us to check out that aren’t on this route, email us, firstname.lastname@example.org.
8/1/2011 Anchorage, AK
8/2/2011 Seattle, WA
8/3/2011 Portland, OR
8/4/2011 San Francisco, CA
8/5/2011 Honolulu, HI
8/6/2011 Las Vegas, NV
8/7/2011 Laramie, WY
8/8/2011 Bozeman, MT
8/9/2011 Ross, ND
8/10/2011 Brookings, SD
8/11/2011 Omaha, NE
8/12/2011 St. Louis, MO
8/13/2011 Little Rock, AR
8/14/2011 Houston, TX
8/15/2011 New Medinah, Mississippi
8/16/2011 Mobile, AL
8/17/2011 Gainesville, FL
8/18/2011 Orangeburg, SC
8/19/2011 Murfreesboro, TN
8/20/2011 Plainfield, IN
8/21/2011 Wheeling, WV
8/22/2011 Richmond, VA
8/23/2011 Baltimore, MD
8/24/2011 Dover, DE
8/25/2011 Paterson, NJ
8/26/2011 Hartford, CT
8/27/2011 Providence, RI
8/28/2011 Concord, NH
8/29/2011 Colchester, VT
8/30/2011 New York, NY
Check out their adventures last year, either in the extensive selections on this blog, "Aman's and Bassam's Ramadan Road Trip: 30 Mosques, 30 States, 30 Days--American Muslims From Coast to Coast" Part I, Part II, Part III, or in full at their 30 Mosques 30 States website or Facebook site.
Aman's and Bassam's Ramadan Road Trip: 30 Mosques, 30 States, 30 Days--American Muslims From Coast to Coast Part I
Aman's and Bassam's Ramadan Road Trip: 30 Mosques, 30 States, 30 Days--American Muslims Coast to Coast Part II
Aman's and Bassam's Ramadan Road Trip: 30 Mosques, 30 States, 30 Days--American Muslims Coast to Coast Part III