Da'wah On Wheels
by Anisah David,
Islamic Horizons, Sept./Oct. 2000
Taking Islam to bikers is helping fulfill their search for truth.
Imagine yourself driving down the highway with your family, pleasantly enjoying the view of the Great Plains of the American west, and being overcome by the sound of thunder. It is not the thunder of a distant storm, but the thunder of something you have never experienced. You look around and discover that this commotion is coming behind you, in the shape of a vast army of motorcycles whose helmet-clad riders are traveling en masse. You not only hear the thunder of their engines, but your very bones feel the rumble as they pass you in waves. And as they pass, you note a familiar symbol on the side of each bike and on the backs of each jacket: the bold gold and green symbol of Islam.
This is the dream of an American-born revert, Victor David. An avid biker who once lived the rough and rowdy life of an American biker, David is working to make his new dream come true.
His goal is to organize a Muslim biker's association -- similar to the Christian Biker's Association -- to bring the message of Islam to bikers. A resident of South Dakota, David would like to develop a nationwide organization that focuses on bringing the message of Islam to people like himself.
David embraced Islam in 1998, after learning that his older sister, with whom he had lost contact, had been a Muslim for several years. Studying Islam to prove that it was not the "true" religion, he embraced it 8 months later. Today, only the tattoos remain in a re-born David
Tent of Light
David's current project is to travel to Sturgis, SD, during the sixtieth annual Biker's Rally in August . Usually, this event attracts some 275,000 to 290,000 people, and more come each year. He asserts: "It's time that Muslims bring Islam to the people, and this event is only one such event."
He is not planning a run-of-the-mill Da'wah activity. Instead, the group would focus on Da'wah by using the common interest of motorcycles. He wants to pitch a tent of enlightenment in Sturgis and invite his fellow bikers to come in, sit with him and fellow Muslim motorcycle enthusiasts, and discuss Islam.
David dispels commonly held stereotypes about bikers by stating that they usually are individuals who have decided that the American system does not work and then launch themselves on a search for truth.
The organization that plans to begin working in this unique medium is still in its infancy. David hopes that other Muslim bikers will join in this annual endeavor each August, beginning in the year 2002. "We are planning on having a central meeting point in eastern South Dakota somewhere near Brookings, in sha' Allah [by the will of Allah], where we will camp out and organize ourselves before traveling together on to the town of Sturgis in the Black Hills of South Dakota," says David.
His organization needs to raise $2,000 for the proposed Da'wah Tent at the rally. He hopes that he can save enough money to purchase a good quality, large canvas marquee that can hold many people at once.
Why a tent? David explains with a smile: "A tent is the most suitable form of shelter, since it is also an image that comes to the mind of many when they think of Muslims." "Tents," he continues, "are used on Hajj." David says that a large white tent with green trim would be a sight to see, even in a large rally like Sturgis. "It is sure to catch the attention of some individuals, in sha' Allah," he declares.
The biking enthusiast insists that Islam needs to be taught to everyone, not just to university students or a certain social set. "Too often we have ignored the middle and lower classes in America, and then wondered why they didn't know anything about Islam," he said. "I am trying to reach a group I am familiar with, and one who often is outside the social mainstream."