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.

"What's happening around the nation are important issues to be concerned about, but they don't phase me or discourage me,” Aman said from the road Monday. “In fact, it's the opposite. It motivates me even more to travel the country, to meet Muslims and teach other people about what Muslims are really like."

Aman and Bassam just finished in Las Vegas, Nevada, and are now headed to Utah. Their route will bring them through the Midwest, ending just outside Detroit, Michigan, before they return home to the East Coast.

CNN's Wayne Drash and Robert Johnson joined Aman and Bassam for three days on their journey, to see what what could be learned by traveling with them in a nation clearly conflicted by Islam.

Along the way, they saw most people defy stereotypes; not so others. Their journey: Peace love... and animosity.

Read  the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

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

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. RightTurnClyde

    Awwww .. ain't that nice? Just just two young guys drivin' around in their car bein' nice and lovin' everybody. And everybody lovin' them back. They had some home made apple pie and coffee and watched out for old folk and kids ... (did they play the Route 66 theme song on their radio?). Did the meet Ponch and Jon? and Gage and Desoto? Did they find Petticoat Junction OK?

    January 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  2. Cheryl from MN

    I want to thank these two young Muslim men for this story. It gives me hope that one day Christians, Muslims and all faiths will live in this great country of ours, in PEACE! It is up to our young people to bring about this change, many older Americans over 40 are set in their ways and don't want to change, they believe the stories fear-mongers spread. Our young people must not listen to the minority that spread the message of fear and hatred. Thank You Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq for an inspiring story!

    September 13, 2010 at 2:54 am |
  3. Jochebed

    So the imams and leaders are worried about worldliness and temptation, but their high school girls are listening to R&B and their sons are listening to "Sexual Healing" in the car. Hypocrisy. I'm glad at least that one of the gentlemen recognized THEIR prejudice in judging the man at the Confederate store. Now if we could get some leaders of the NAACP to do so.

    August 31, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  4. Saladin

    What a great opportunity. I'm envious of those gentlemen and hope they get a lot out of the trip! I also hope the public can read this and learn a little bit about Islam and who Muslims really are.

    August 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  5. Reality

    Until the koran is rewritten without all the calls for killing infidels and domination of the world by male Muslims by any method, no male Muslim can be trusted including Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq. Did anyone check their trunk for bombs and/or weapons?

    August 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • FastEddie


      They did check the trunk. It said so in the article. You know...the one above your post? 😛

      August 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • Kate


      I think people got sidetracked while the men in white coats try and locate you

      Just sayin'

      August 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • Tesneem

      and you see, that is the difference.
      unlike the Bible, the Quran has NEVER been changed since day one
      everything that Muslims believe has not been tampered with by man

      August 30, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
    • Reality


      The article did not say who checked the trunk. Was it the CNN reporters or the koranic-driven tourists? How close did they inspect? Did they take pictures? Use bomb sniffing dogs? Time for Muslims to sit down and an-alyze their "good" book and how that book gives credence to terror in honor of Allah. Until Muslims realize they have been conned and subsequently burn all their korans, no male Muslim can be trusted.

      August 31, 2010 at 12:04 am |
    • Sadia

      @ reality....thats the difference between the Quran and the bible..the Quran has never been changed or aultered (to ur likes and dislikes) and never will be...it's the true word of God.... Unlike the Bible, which has been altered and tailored ...some people 2000 years ago didnt like some things in the bible...they took it out...added other stuff...who made them god?? who gave them the right to change the word of god???...by the way before you pass judgement on the Quran ..read it first...no where does it give credece to terror...Jihad means An individual's striving for spiritual self-perfection. or a war aginst invaders...if smeone enters ur home and starts taking over it u'll try and get them out by any means possible...Jihad is a war fought if ur country is invaded by outside forces...which is a right for any human being....one again before passing judgement yuou might want to get ur facts straight....don't listen to what u're told...God has given u a brain...use it...study a religion..investigate...ask question (to those who know) and then pass judgemnet....

      by the way did u know that ur bible forbids u to eat pork??? go type joel osteen on eating pork on UTube..he's a christine preacher....

      August 31, 2010 at 3:45 am |
    • Reality


      Obviously, you suffer from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Islam. There, however, is an easy cure, The Five Step Program for Deflawing Islam. See below for a free copy:

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the koran and Islamic beliefs.

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Accept these five "cleansers" and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      August 31, 2010 at 9:05 am |
    • Jochebed

      Of course those 2 can be trusted – they're just as liberal as most mainline Christians. It's the ones that actually follow the Koran (the ones that kicked out the CNN crew) that you should worry about.

      August 31, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • darwin

      I think you to read Al Quran (translation) to understand how beatiful is it

      September 11, 2010 at 4:12 am |
  6. donotfoolus

    This is not a news worthy piece. If anything it shows that even among each other muslims are not treated tolerantly. The journey is centered about gaining acceptance among others, but why not report how accepting muslims are across the country. I would be interested to hear imams and congregants speak out about religious tolerance to Jewish and Christians, about Israel’s right to exists, about Chistians being able freely practice in Arab countries, about denouncement of Hamas and other terror groups. Before demanding acceptance and tolerance why not demonstrate some of these values? I would be interested to hear this peace, but until then please don’t bore us.

    August 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Kate


      Since it appears you've totally missed all of those things being done at various points in recent times, the only boring part would be yet another iteration of those things just to make you happy when you'll probably not pay any more attention to it this time than you obviously haven't previously.

      What you *really* want is continuous public displays of religious flagellation by all Muslims on a continual basis because you want revenge, it just doesn't matter who you get it from.

      Just sayin'

      August 30, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  7. Antonio P

    That sounds like a great road-trip, and the article makes me wish it was already done and printed up in a book. I love travel stories. But as I get older reading web articles makes my eyes tired. A real road-trip would wear me out something fierce, too.
    Thanks for the updates, fellas, and watch out for "stobor".

    August 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  8. Waldorf and Statler

    Now if only they would stop by New York and pick up a 21 year old white guy. Here's hoping!

    August 30, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.