Courtesy of Voice of America Urdu Service
Courtesy of Voice of America Urdu Service
We were interviewed for “The Riz Khan Show” on Al Jazeera last week. We had a blast at the interview and visiting with Riz and his production team. The show is airing today and is already up on YouTube.
It was a lot of fun and a little intimidating being interviewed for such a huge show. Riz Khan is a star and Al Jazeera English is accessible in 120 million households worldwide from Africa to Europe to China. It’s unfortunately only on the internet in the US. Al Jazeera is available in China but not in the two largest democracies in the world, the US and India. Go figure.
Parts 1 and 2 are below.
That’s the President of American University, Dr. Cornelius Kerwin, in the ‘white house’ on campus, of course. We had the honor of visiting him in his office this week to meet with him and brief him on the status of the project and interview him as well.
He was very eloquent and spoke very highly of the project. He congratulated us and called “Journey into America “likely to be one of the most definitive works to date on the Muslim experience in the United States”. High praise, for the project and for Ambassador Ahmed.
We were really happy to have that vote of confidence from the Big Man on Campus. Please see the video below for more.
Thank you all for all of the responses to the CNN article. We’ve had a lot of really positive comments and some constructive ones.
The post about Arab, Alabama has received a lot of attention. It’s now our most popular post. Even the Arab Tribune wrote about out visit. I’m from Huntsville, just up the road and was excited about bringing the team to Alabama. We chose Arab because of the name, really. And yes, we knew the story about the name beforehand. We just wanted to have a little fun with it and see what it would be like to put Hailey in an abaya (traditional Arab dress) in a town with the same name–no offense meant to the good people of Arab. Take a look at our earlier post about stereotypes. We know that the sterotypes are not necessarily true. I, for one, expected the kind of generous and warm reponse that we got all over the south, not just in Alabama. Please see “Journey into Islam“, our previous project, to see how we were treated in the Muslim world as obvious non-Muslim westerners–similar to the hospitality we received in Arab.
I was really proud of the way that Hailey was treated in Arab. I keep telling the team that relations between different races and religions are sometimes better in the south than other places. Hailey got much worse looks in Miami, for example.
We also made a stop in the small town of Gadsden, Alabama and had lunch with some wonderful new friends. They live very peacefully with the non-Muslim majority and have not had many problems at all and all of the women we met wore the hijab.
So thanks again for all the comments. More posts are on the way.
We had a great stop in Nashville visiting Vanderbilt a couple of times, several Mosques, caught some bluegrass music at the historic Station Inn and we got a chance to meet up with several members of the Kurdish community, both at the restaurant in the video below and at the Salahuddin Islamic Center. Salahuddin, of course, is a hero of the Kurds. A Kurdish Muslim, he was the Sultan of Egypt and Syria and led the resistance against the crusades, even conquering Jerusalem. He led with such honor and decency, even to his enemies, he is a hero throughout the Muslim world.
The Kurds have their own language and culture, and hail mostly from Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Syria, in an area generally known as Kurdistan. The first Kurds came to US after WWI, then in several waves since. Some Kurds came to the US after a failed revolution in Iraq, some went to Iran. Many more came after the Kurds supported Iran in the Iran-Iraq war, and Saddam Hussein retaliated, attacking villages with chemical weapons and some more after Hussein invaded Kuwait. Now, the largest Kurdish community in the United States is in Nashville.
On February 9, at 5:00 a.m., Daoud was awakened by the fire department. His Mosque and the home of the Muslim community was ablaze.
The community of 55 people at the maximum had purchased the building paid it off and was extremely proud that they had a home in the idyllic small town of Columbia in south Tennessee. The mosque was the only one within a wide radius and people from many small towns in the area came to worship there.
Three individuals had broken in, trashed the inside and tossed Molotov cocktails into the Mosque. They had spray painted several swastika and “white power, we run the world”. They were part of something called the Christian Identity Movement. Fortunately, they were arrested immediately and are awaiting sentencing. Continue reading
We’ve been traveling through Florida for the past week–from Sanibel Island where Ambassador Ahmed spoke to a crowd of 400 people, to Fort Myers to Palm Beach where Ambassador ahmed spoke again to The World Affairs Council, finally all the way down to Miami. We leave tomorrow early for Georgia.
In Ft. Myers we met Iman al Darsani who you will see in the video below and in Palm Beach we spent some time with Reverend Bob Norris, also in the video, from the Royal Poincianna Chapel.
We’ve been busy since we took off on September 1: Driving, interviewing, flying, focus group meeting, packing, driving, very little sleeping, taking notes, meetings, interviewing, speaking, writing, driving, packing…
The travel is relentless and our schedule is grueling. St. Louis; Dearborn; Detroit; Chicago; Cedar Rapids; Omaha; Grand Island, Washington, DC; New York City; Boston; Plymouth Rock, Burlington; Hamilton and Binghamton, NY; Buffalo; Palmyra, DC; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Flagstaff and a Native American Reservation; San Francisco, Oakland, Silicon Valley; San Diego; Los Angeles; and Honolulu.
But, everyday brings a new highlight. From some of the interviews that we have posted here, to some that we have saved or will post later, we are kept inspired by the people we’ve met along the way. We all have different favorites like Hamza Yusef, Sirraj Wahhaj, Dawud Walid in Dearborn, Imam Feitullah, Noam Chomsky, Judea Pearl, Sherriff Lee Baca. The list could go on and on.