September 10th, 2010
03:20 PM ET

America, the Tolerant

Two young Muslim men journeyed 13,000 miles across America for the holy month of Ramadan. They found a nation – not of intolerance – but one of kindness. In the end, they have a renewed faith in Islam, and the country they love.

Amid the hype of the so-called “ground zero mosque” and the possible Quran burning in Florida, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq traveled into the nation’s heartland to visit 30 mosques in 30 states. When they left on this pilgrimage, they wondered: Is America still the accepting nation that embraced our forebears or has it reached a new level of intolerance?

Despite the recent tit-for-tat nasty headlines, the two were embraced nearly everywhere they went – an America that welcomes its diverse people.

"After 13,000 miles, I think that America still exists, and I'm happy to know that it does," said Tariq, a 23-year-old American of Pakistani descent. "It's really made America feel like home to me in a way that I've never felt before.”

Read the full story.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now • Holidays • Islam • Muslim • Ramadan • Ramadan road trip

August 30th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Ramadan road trip: Not all Kumbaya

Two young Muslim Americans are taking a cross-country spiritual journey at a fascinating time in the nation’s history.

Just this weekend, conservative commentator Glenn Beck stood before a crowd of hundreds of thousands in the nation's capital and proclaimed that "America today begins to turn back to God."

Hours earlier, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, four construction vehicles used for the groundbreaking of an Islamic mosque were vandalized and damaged in a fire suspected to be arson. The mosque has faced stiff local resistance.

Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are on Day 19 of their cross-country trip to 30 mosques in 30 states during the holy month of Ramadan. Beginning in New York, they traveled down the East Coast to the South and then onward West, covering thousands of miles and meeting Muslims of all walks of life.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Culture wars • Faith • Faith Now • Holidays • Islam • Journeys • Mosque • Ramadan • Ramadan road trip • Traditions • United States

August 20th, 2010
03:55 PM ET

Ramadan road trip, day 3: View from the top

Aman Ali, right, and Wayne Drash atop the Jacksonville minaret

CNN's Wayne Drash filed this report:

Shauib Karim calls me back into the office at the Islamic Center of Jacksonville, Florida. "You've got to see this."

He boots up a computer and opens a file from May 10. On the screen, there's an image of a hunched-over, middle-aged guy carrying a 3-foot pipe bomb and a gas canister.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now • Islam • Journeys • Mosque • Muslim • Ramadan • Ramadan road trip

August 19th, 2010
03:48 PM ET

Ramadan road trip, day 2: 'Faith people have to stick together'

CNN's Wayne Drash filed this report:

The blue Chevy Cobalt pulled away from Atlanta, heading into toward the Muslim community of Jacksonville, Florida.

Driver Aman Ali jams to "Eye of the Tiger," his thumbs beating to the rhythm and his voice belting out along with Survivor's lead singer. His friend, Bassam Tariq, studiously reads fan emails and scans the internet.

"I just read a news piece that 1 in 5 Americans think Obama is a Muslim," Bassam says. "Isn't that crazy?"


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Faith Now • Islam • Journeys • Muslim • Ramadan • Ramadan road trip

August 19th, 2010
12:37 AM ET

Ramadan roadtrip begins: Day 1

Iman Mansoor Sabree introduces Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq to students at the Mohammed Schools in Atlanta. Ali and Tariq are are visiting 30 mosques in 30 days during Ramadan.

CNN's Wayne Drash filed this report:

Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are two young Muslims taking a 10,000-mile roadtrip to 30 mosques in 30 states during the holy month of Ramadan.

“It’s about humanizing Muslims and Islam,” Ali said. “A lot of people might know about Islam, but they might not know what our lives are really like.”

My colleague, Robert Johnson, and I are joining them on their swing through the South. Along the way, we'll meet an African-American community of Muslims in Atlanta; a largely Pakistani-American community in Jacksonville, Florida; and a group of West African immigrants in Birmingham, Alabama.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now • Holidays • Islam • Journeys • Muslim • Ramadan • Ramadan road trip

About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.