For the past three years, Ali Aman, 27, has spent the Islamic holy month of fasting, Ramadan, at a different mosque everyday. Aman and his photographer friend Bassam Tariq have spent Ramadan which starts on July 20th covering all 50 states in their blog, www.30mosques.com.
Aman said in a Huffington Post blogpost written in 2010, "It was an impulsive and half-baked idea that changed our lives forever. During Ramadan 2010, Islam's holy month of fasting and reflection, we hopped in a car and drove across America, stopping each evening to break our fast at a different mosque in a different state. We drove over 13,000 miles during the trip and blogged about it daily on our site."
The journey has been an interesting and groundbreaking on and the duo has had their fair share of adventures because of it. "We prayed in the infamous 'Ground Zero Mosque,' got pulled over by a cop in Mississipi and stumbled upon one of the first mosques ever built in the United States when our car broke down. Along the way we also met the protagonist of Dave Eggers' bestselling book Zeitoun, Cambodian Muslim victims of the Khmer Rouge, a Pakistani-Mormon couple, and many, many others, all of whom are part of the diverse Muslim-American community. "
Aman also spoke to The New York Times about his blog and said that throughout the U.S. it has the same, open and welcoming spirit but with regional differences from state to state. "The Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island, for instance, broke fast with kebab and seasoned breads, but then the Atlanta Masjid of al-Islam, a largely African-American mosque, served catfish, collard greens and macaroni. The food there was phenomenal, and I remember, after the night prayer, everyone sang nasheeds a cappella, while this guy drummed on the table," he said.
The blog since it's initialization has garnered a number of followeres and major media attention and thanks to their many fans and readers they have been able to finance the project on corporate sponsors and individual contributions.
- During Ramadan Muslims are expected to refrain from eating, drinking, sex and smoking from daybreak to sunset during the month of Ramadan.
- Ramadan happens during the ninth moth of the Islamic lunar calender and is determined by the appearance of the new moon.
- After sunset Muslims enjoy a huge shared meal with family.