Jameel Syed is still in recovery mode after what he believes is an historic feat: visiting 50 mosques in 50 states in a little more than a month.
Syed says he survived on 3-5 hours of sleep as he traveled across the country, including Hawaii and Alaska, by car and plane. But the 40-year-old marketing executive from Auburn Hills, Michigan said he doesn’t feel tired.
“I feel blessed,” said Syed, in an interview with NBC News. “That I have the opportunity to go and raise the call to prayer across 50 states and 50 mosques is equivalent to winning a lottery ticket to a billion dollars. I feel extremely blessed and lucky to have touched the lives of so many people both Muslim and non-Muslim alike.”
Starting on April 3 at the Islamic Society in Plainfield, Indiana, Syed hit every state in the nation in an effort to find the Muslim heart of America, and to connect with non-Muslims along the way.
From the Midwest, to the South, to the Northeast to the West, Syed went at a steady pace. In the home stretch, he went from Hawaii to Alaska, before returning to his home mosque, the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills.
As the muezzin, Syed is the person who delivers the call to prayer to the faithful, five times a day. On May 8, he arrived home for the final call of his trip.
“I made it. I did it. We did something historic,” Syed recalled saying with relief when he made that last call to prayer at his home mosque. He said coming home to his family and community was the trip's high point.
The plan now is to make a documentary on the real purpose of his journey.
“It was to give non-Muslims the opportunity to look into the lives of what some people term moderate Muslims,” Syed said. “And at the same time allowing those moderate Muslims to recognize the community of the other brothers and sisters in the other states, and to learn what good things they are doing.”