LIANE HANSEN, Host:
Last month, we checked in with Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq just as they were beginning their Ramadan road trip. Their goal was to spend each night of Ramadan in a different mosque in a different state around the country - and they've done it. Dearborn, Michigan was their last stop before heading back to New York City. We caught up with them in nearby Detroit, where they joined us from member station WDET. Aman, welcome back to the program.
AMAN ALI: Thanks for having me.
HANSEN: And, Bassam, welcome back to you too.
BASSAM TARIQ: Hello.
HANSEN: All right. Either one of you can take this: what were the highlights? Let's start with you, Aman.
ALI: We thought we'd see a lot of the same, you know, going to every community, you know, the same narrative of India and Pakistani, Arab Muslim doctors and engineers that built these big, beautiful lavish mosques. And that's an important narrative in this country about the history of Muslims, but it's clearly not the only one.
HANSEN: Aman Ali, tell us about that first mosque that was ever built in the United States that you went to in North Dakota.
ALI: And I thought I knew, but I really don't. I really felt ashamed for not knowing this really rich and intricate and integral history to this country.
HANSEN: Bassam, given that you did visit Muslim communities in 30 different states, when we spoke to you last, you both had talked about meeting an Iraqi refugee in a Maine mosque, for example. And you talked about some of the surprises, but I'm wondering what did you find, do you think, that surprised you the most?
TARIQ: And that, for me, kind of says, like, this is what America is, for us to take an abandoned church, right, and then make it into a mosque, and then make it into a community that brings people together. I think that's incredible.
HANSEN: Aman, last time we spoke, I asked you ultimately what you and Bassam were trying to accomplish. And you talked about a message about it's OK to be who you are, it's OK to come from where you come from and believe in what you believe in. So, essentially, you were trying to change or hope to change some negative perceptions about Islam and American Muslims. Do you think you succeeded?
ALI: These are issues that are unique to any group of people in this country. We just want to tell great stories. And the cool thing about this project is every community we visited, they each had a great story to tell.
HANSEN: Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq joined us from member station WDET in Detroit, Michigan. They just wrapped up their 30 mosques project, a road trip that took them to 30 different mosques and 30 different states during the holy month of Ramadan. Aman Ali, thank you.
ALI: Thank you.
HANSEN: And Bassam Tariq, thank you.
TARIQ: Thank you.
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