In Between Lake and Sea, Ali finds himself hitting rock bottom after waking up one morning on the grassy slopes of Hines Park. Growing distant from his family and falling into complacency, Ali needed something to change. To reconnect with his rich heritage, and rediscover his faith, 24-year old Ali travels to his father’s homeland of Najaf, Iraq. It is a spiritual journey marked by an unlikely friendship with a mystic scholar – the Sayyid – who opens Ali’s eyes to answers that were always there deep within. Growing up between America and the Middle East, Ali’s journey reflects on what it means to be both American and Arab, both Lebanese and Iraqi, and a practicing Muslim. It’s a story of vulnerability and discovery – a story that unpacks the challenging conversations around identity, faith, and belonging – pivotal to young people everywhere.
Jalal Moughania is an American lawyer, lecturer, and researcher. He has authored and translated original works on Islamic history and thought, religious authority in Shi’ism, and Shia Muslim identity and society. He serves as Director at the Mainstay Foundation — an NGO working in the space of research, education, and development. Moughania holds a Juris Doctorate in Law.