‘The Great Muslim American Road Trip’ Explores Interesting People in Unusual Places

The Great Muslim American Road Trip PBS PBS

The three-part docuseries The Great Muslim American Road Trip (PBS beginning July 5 at 10pm ET/PT) follows a young Muslim American couple — Syrian American rapper Mona Haydar and her husband, Sebastian Robins, who converted after meeting Mona — as they explore the famous Route 66 and its surrounding Muslim communities on a 2,500-mile drive from Chicago to Los Angeles.

The trip is an opportunity for them to not only experience the breathtaking panoramas and iconic roadside attractions along the route, but also to learn more about the history of their faith and what it means to be Muslim in America today. And some of what they found on their journey may surprise viewers, even as it sometimes surprised the couple, from the grave of a famous Syrian-born camel driver, to traces of America’s first Muslim explorer from the 1500s, to an unexpected community of Muslims living in Las Vegas.

“I think this is a story that shows, in some ways, interesting and unusual people in interesting and unusual places,” Robins says, “but they are also living lives that are typical of 99.9% of Muslims worldwide. But somehow that is still unusual because that’s not the story we are told.”

This journey also served as a second honeymoon of sorts for the couple, offering them their first chance to really spend quality time alone in eight years, since they began their family, which consists of two children, ages 4 and 7. But even a regular long road trip, let alone one being produced for a TV series, can bring up tensions between two different people who travel differently, and some of those begin to show over the course of the series.

Ultimately, though, Haydar says with a smile, “We really enjoyed our time together. It was super sweet and beautiful. I learned some things about my husband that I didn’t know before. … [T]his road trip definitely confirmed some of my reservations about his taste in music. … We had our moments, but it was good, largely. … [It] was really beautiful, spiritually [and] emotionally, to be able to connect as a couple.”

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