30 Mosques in 30 Days

Monday, August 16, 2010

With the start of Ramadan last Wednesday, standup comedian Aman Ali and filmmaker Bassam Tariq embarked on a summer-end road trip of a different kind.  Their quest: to spend every night of Ramadan in a different mosque in a different state.  Ali and Tariq, co-creators of 30 Mosques in 30 Days - a blog documenting their exploration of NYC's mosques last year - call in to share what they're now learning about Muslim communities around the U.S.


Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq

Comments [17]

Sharjeel from Mississauga, Ontario

Patricia from Forest Hills:
I'm sorry to hear about what your muslim husband did to you. His idiotic actions however were more of human nature rather than something taught by Islam. It's a bit like me buying you an expensive gift and clearly stating i dont need anything in return, but expecting deep down inside that you would reciprocate and going berzerk when you don't. Not a very great example but you get the drift? There's idiots everywhere. Rule of thumb in Islam is marry someone if that person is already a muslim, or voluntarily embraces Islam.

Kathleen from woodside:
The issue you raise is of an immigrant nature rather than a muslim one. Most muslims in the U.S.A. are immigrants. When you immigrate to a new place at 40 something you have a lot of complexes to overcome before you can be accessible by others around. Having immigrated to Toronto, Canada from Pakistan at age 17 here are some of my observations of older immigrants:

Colour Complex: South Asian / Arabs all want to be fair and 'white'. If you're white you're high and mighty (this mindset comes from British rule over the world in the last century where white man was king and local brown man servant.) These immigrants are, for lack of a better word, scared of you.
Inferiority Complex: I cant talk english if my life depended on it. How do i converse with white man.
Superiority Complex: These white folk are all immoral. They do alcohol, wear skimpy clothes and go to bars. Best avoid them or my kids will pick up these traits too.
I'm a refugee i'm poor complex: People already settled here are all well do to so they don't really need my help. It's actually me who needs all the help and attention.

And so on and so forth. Their problem is that they've forgotten one of Islam's most important teachings i.e. get out and do good in the community. Islam gives lots of rights to one's neighbours. You might think i'm kidding when i say this: As a muslim you're not supposed to go to bed at night knowing that your neighbour is going to bed hungry. These guys are just first generation immigrants and need someone to tell them to get out. Try visiting a mosque that's run mostly by 2nd or 3rd generation American Muslims, you'll get a much different vibe there. Hope any of this helps.

Marilyn from New Jersey: Pakistan being called an 'Islamic Republic' is pure wishful thinking. That's a bit like putting a Ferrari Testarossa decal on a Toyota Tercel. Pakistan is run by the most corrupt sons of itches ever. Forget christians, most muslims there dont have any rights either. You have rights if you're rich and loaded, which is about 1% of the population. The standard mode of life in Pakistan is that of a feudal system (think Europe in the dark ages). The actual tenents of Islam give full freedom to non muslims to build their places of worship and practice their faith without any hinderance or prejudice. By the way, growing up in Pakistan, guess what school i went to? St. Patrick's Catholic School.

Aug. 17 2010 09:37 AM
Mark from Chinatown

There's an Indonesian mosque in Astoria, Queens, called Masjid Al-Hikmah. It's come to the attention of food lovers because it holds Sunday bazaars where anyone can drop in and sample Indonesian home cooking and hospitality ...

Aman and Bassam covered NYC pretty thoroughly last year and I see they'll be on the road for a while, but if they're back in town in September and the timing's right, they might enjoy this place.

Aug. 17 2010 01:12 AM
Muna from Texas from Texas


I'm Muslim, and I stumbled across this and I thought I could answer some questions. 1.) Yes, non muslims are welcome to come to a mosque at any time. It is a place to worship God, and its forbidden to prohibit anyone from entering 2.) Kathleen from Woodside, Mosques are open places to anyone who wants to worship God, but a lot of times american muslims perceive that the surrounding neighborhood might not welcome them. (Blame the media) Though if you approached ppl at the mosque and tell them your concerns, they should be willing to listen.

Overall, people have committed atrocities in the name of a group, religion or even political entities. However, if you look at the doctrine and teachings of all religions, no religion promotes violence. In Islam, it specifically states that you can not kill a single human being unless in self-defense. Even in war, it was/is forbidden to kill someone who is not attacking you directly.
The fact that Al-Qaida tries to pretend to use Islam to justify their acts is disgusting and ironic.

Extremists want to cause irrational hatred on both sides. Thats how they can ultimately win.

Also, side note: My uncle was a New York City police officer at the time of 9/11, and he--a muslim--was pulling people out from the debris at the time.

Aug. 16 2010 07:51 PM
Omutende from Bed Stuy

All in all, Islamism has done great in the US since 9/11. Couldn'tve been better for them.

No mass discrimination and attacks, Mosques are mushrooming all over the US , and liberal non-Muslims beating each other up about who can be more PC....

Wow - whoever said terror works, was right.
Europe - won. Current target, USA.
One day - China!

Aug. 16 2010 11:51 AM
bill from the office

john, you are the one with the hobbyhorse
i wonder why?

Aug. 16 2010 11:03 AM
Patricia from Forest Hills

I was married to a Muslim. I'm a Christan and he said he didn't have a problem with my faith. I didn't have a problem with him being a Muslim. Well as time went by and I didn't "embrace" Islam, he went bezerk. All of a sudden it was a big issue. He thought I'd convert, since many non-believers tend to "embrace" Islam after marriage. I didn't. I don't think he was a jerk because he was Muslim, I think he was a jerk just because that's who he was as a person. I do however think, Muslims do expect non-believers to convert if they marry a Muslim.

Aug. 16 2010 11:02 AM
Jack Berger from Brooklyn

All of those who commited atrocities during the holocaust were from some side of Christianity. There were no Buddhists,Hindus,Moslems,Pagans etc doing horrible things in the concentration camps. They all came from Christianity. Yet Judiasm made no blanket condemnation of Christianity as is being done now to Islam by some. Maybe that should be pointed out to some.

Aug. 16 2010 11:00 AM
Kathleen from woodside


There is a mosque on my block in Woodside Queen, in a former residence, and the members have made no connection with residents on the block.
All religious centers should make an effort to reach out to their neighbors that have welcomed them into their area. Especially when they use public space for outside prayer and congregating.
Are mosques usually this insular and unfriendly to neighbors?

Aug. 16 2010 10:59 AM
Eric from manhattan

Can non-Muslims visit these places? What is the protocol?

Aug. 16 2010 10:59 AM

and of course we must not allow falafel carts within 5 blocks of Ground Zero and the ashes of Moslems who died on 9/11 should be separated from those of real americans. And please those of the Islam faith should not take these feelings personally.
Wyatt Cenac on NY Muslims: "They're Everywhere"
Wyatt Cenac fears that Muslims will take over by building mosques every two blocks until New York City is completely covered.

Aug. 16 2010 10:55 AM
Nick from UWS

"Praying"..."religious identity"..."faith"...

You know what I pray for? I pray for the day when mankind leaves the whole infantile mess of "religion" behind forever, that people will wake the hell up and cease to view any of it as fact, and it takes no more place in adult discussion or thought than the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy does today.

Aug. 16 2010 10:55 AM

Build the mosque. It doesn't make sense not to. If Christians blew up the trade center, would everybody be up in arms if a (christian) church were proposed a few blocks from the site? I don't think so. Wasn't this country founded on religious freedoms? Looking back over the history of the US, you wouldn't think so. People killed Mormons and drove them out of their communities. Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, was stoned to death, etc, etc. Wake up.

Aug. 16 2010 10:53 AM
Ed from NJ from NJ

Messrs Ali and Tariq:

1) Ramadan Mubarak

2) Hats off for your not taking the bait in the comments for your visit to Park51.

3) Your affection for the mosques you visit comes through loud and clear, and sounds very familiar to this frequent synagogue-goer. I'll see your screechy PA system and raise you my peanut gallery kibitzing.

Aug. 16 2010 10:51 AM
office from office

Like the Gay marriage issue, Brian has a new hobby horse, pushing Islam.
Brian, to throw a damper on things ask if they agree with Gay marriage, you won't and they would never condon gay marriage. Because it si sodomy.

Aug. 16 2010 10:50 AM
Marilyn from New Jersey

Pakistan, like most 'Islamic republics' does not allow freedom of religion. No one could build a church, Jewish or any other kind of temple there. The people behind this Islamic center do have agenda, as witnessed by their refusal to consider a change in the location of the proposed complex.

Aug. 16 2010 10:31 AM

It is not a mosque but a muslim based community center, like a JCC or YMHA.
Zelots, or fundamentalists, or religious radicals (what ever you want to call it) are responsible for 9/11.
Other religious fundamentalists are not called "christians" we call them Branch Davidians or what ever their group is called.

Aug. 16 2010 10:25 AM
Elissa Bernstein from New York

Moderate Moslems and peaceful Islam are also under attack by radical Moslem extremists. It is crucial that we support moderates who are trying to stand up to the hostilities of extremism.

Aug. 16 2010 10:23 AM

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