Today’s ‘Five Questions’ series (with our fabulous Melibee speakers) are answered by entertainer, storyteller, journalist and all around good guy, Aman Ali. Aman is known internationally for his comedy and the 30 Mosques in 30 Days project, He was recently the keynote speaker at the New England Study Abroad Returnee conference in Boston. He answers questions from our team here!
1) How to you think 30 Mosques in 30 Days changed the “single story” of Muslims and the Islamic faith?
That was essentially the biggest takeaway from our project – that there isn’t one monolithic story about Muslims in America. Even with the hundreds of stories we covered on the course of our trip, we probably only scratched the surface.
2) Is there a time when your perspectives changed because of your 30 Mosques in 30 Days journey?
At first, we were really worried about telling a unique and interesting story EVERY SINGLE DAY on the trip. We thought we’d see the same lavish mosques with fancy chandeliers run by wealthy doctors and lawyers day in and day out. But we were pleasantly surprised with so many interesting narratives to talk about each day. It was too the point where the biggest challenge was figuring out what to talk about because there were so many people and topics to choose from each day.
3) Faith is….
A very personal and private relationship a human being has between him/herself and God. And 99.9 percent of all problems in religion happen because some annoying prick wants to criticize how another person chooses to have that relationship.
4) What is something you wish everyone knew about you?
I live my life very publicly through my stories on Facebook, so there isn’t much that they don’t know already. And unfortunately they know a little too much, lol.
5) What is your passion and what first drew you to it?
Storytelling is my passion first and foremost. Being a performer, a writer, reporter, all came from my passion to tell stories. My parents and relatives all are great storytellers and often told me the most incredible stories about growing up on farms in India in the 1940s and 50s, and how they want from stealing chicken eggs on farms in India to moving to the U.S. to become successful entrepreneurs. So hearing their stories naturally developed the hunger I had to not only hear stories, but fall into a profession where I could tell my own.