Vets for American Ideals and MuslimMarine Launch Project Commemorating Ramadan Featuring Veterans, American Muslim Families
Washington, D.C.—To commemorate Ramadan Vets for American Ideals and MuslimMarine.org today launched the “29 for 29 Ramadan Initiative,” a project bringing 29 U.S. military veterans to the homes of American Muslim families across the United States during the month-long holiday. The veterans will share their experiences through a blog series featuring photos and video. At a time when 62 percent of Americans say they have never met someone of the Muslim faith, the project will educate, entertain, and ultimately unify Americans from different walks of life.
“This project presents a unique opportunity for Americans who have never met someone of the Muslim faith to walk a mile in their shoes as they embark on one of Islam’s holiest traditions – Ramadan, the month of fasting,” said Mansoor Shams, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and founder of MuslimMarine.org. “Veterans can be a bridge between communities, they are a trusted voice and as they share their stories, we hope we can break down a few of the walls keeping our communities apart.”
Beginning today, each of the 29 veterans will spend one night at the home of an American Muslim family and gain an intimate glimpse of the experience of Ramadan. They will arrive in the late afternoon, enjoy time with the family, and then take part in the evening events—breaking the day’s fast with the host, going to the family’s mosque, or visiting an American Muslim community space. They will spend the night in the family’s home and wake early the next morning to observe the beginning of the fast the following day.
These impressions will be published throughout the 29 days until Eid-Ul-Fitr—the celebration marking the end of Ramadan—when each of the veterans will join with their hosts once again, this time at their local mosques. There veterans will see first-hand how American Muslims celebrate one of Islam’s holiest holidays.
“At a moment when the United States is decidedly not united, veterans are uniquely positioned to bring communities together,” said Scott Cooper, founder of Vets for American Ideals and participant in the project. “Americans of the Muslim faith are our neighbors, coworkers, fellow service-members, and friends. This project will offer a glimpse into what we share as citizens of this great country.”
MuslimMarine.org was created by Mansoor Shams after receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps. The website documents Shams efforts across the country to bring together Americans of different backgrounds through conversation and dialogue. Vets for American Ideals, a project of Human Rights First, is a nonpartisan group of veterans who share the belief that America is strongest when its policies and actions match its ideals.