Two men travel throughout 30 America states to discover a whole host of Muslims with a balanced, earthen attitude to life.
We have enjoyed traveling along with Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq on their 30 Mosques in 30 States Ramadan road trip. 30-in-30 is the return of a journey by two Muslims and their quest to green America; they began their trip on August 11th in New York City and are en route to visit 30 different mosques.
They have lit up hidden Muslim communities and the multi-faith integration in the US. The ethnic diversity within American Muslim communities has enlightened the bloggers and readers that despite our reluctance to talk about the environment and waste, we are all still people with concern for one another and ourselves. The word humility buzzes throughout their blog posts.
Dude. It’s just a mosque.
The media has taken a shine to the 30-in-30 tour. The tech and culture blog Boing Boing was one of the first to repost the guys’ first stop at the controversial ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ in Park51 where they realised, “dude, it’s just a mosque.” World Hum reports on the positive depiction of a ‘fascinatingly complex picture of …[a] modern Muslim community’, and a CNN video interview of Aman and Bassam revealed more about how they felt during the first few days praying at gas stations with all-white Muslim Sufis.
What has really perked our interest is the number of eco-Muslims the bloggers were introduced to. It is not a surprise that speckled within the agriculturally rooted American ‘cowboy’ lifestyle are organically inspired American Muslims, but it is good to know the Green Prophets are not alone.
During the 2009 Ramadan road trip Aman and Bassam visited Masjid At-Taqwa in Brooklyn, New York. Next door to the mosque is Abu’s Bakery, a store owned by Idrees. Selling traditional pies and meals that are both American and “halal”, Abu’s Bakery is also the hot hang out spot after the evening taraweeh prayers for Ramadan.
On day 14 of the 30 Mosque stop at the Taha mosque in Santa Fe, Yaseen, son of the Islamic lecturer on medicine, Hakim Archuletta, talks about their home grown produce.
“Yaseen grew up in New Mexico and married his wife Sobia, a Pakistani architect who is a whiz at cooking. For dinner we (Aman & Bassam) eat a soup Hakim Archuletta made from Mexican squash and beans, and Sobia made lamb curry, rice and kheema (seasoned ground beef) that was stewed with a variety of peppers.”
Yaseen and his wife Sobia keep sheep and chickens that they raise organically and slaughter Islamically on their own. All the vegetables at the 30-in-30 iftar meal were grown by the couple in their backyard. As the travelers put it best: “It’s so cool to meet Muslims that practice their religion by harmonizing their lifestyle with the earth.”
Day 10 featured AbdulRahman Zeitoun, author and creator of an animated movie that is in the works (directed by Oscar winner Jonathan Demme). Zeitoun stayed in New Orleans during the vicious hurricane and rode out the storm. He wrote a book about his life before and after Hurricane Katrina – Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Plus, Zeitoun says he loves to grow fruit and vegetables, shown below holding unripe tomatoes he has grown on one of his properties.
‘Zeitoun took us to the backyard of one of the houses that he has leased. When I asked if we should ask permission before going in the back, Zeitoun responded, “Why? This is my house.” He then proceeded to open the backyard gate.’
What we love most about the green living of American Muslims is how earthen their attitude is. They work and provide from their own ethical means; be it fruit or animal, they have balanced their diet with a beautiful “eco” faith.