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July 4th, 2010
09:26 PM ET

At American Muslim convention, scholar urges stifling extremists

Editor's Note: CNN's Soraya Salam is attending this year's Islamic Society of North America Convention in Rosemont, Illinois and sent this report:

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf seemed to be what thousands of audience members had been waiting for when he took the main stage of the 47th annual Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention Saturday night.

Yusuf was met with cheers that a celebrity might expect. To many American Muslims he is a star, an eloquent speaker and knowledgeable scholar who gets them.

Raised in California, Yusuf embraced Islam at 17 and started a life of traditional scholarship, traveling around the world and studying under some of the most revered spiritual teachers in the Islamic world.

On Saturday, he spoke of the intense power of religion in the world today and of how such power can be dangerous if it is misunderstood and if there is not a platform to promote sound scholarship and proper education within it. 

Emphasizing the importance of stifling radical extremists, he reminded the audience of how much the Prophet Mohammed loved human beings, animals and the environment, proclaiming, “Our religion is a beautiful religion and it is being made ugly by the acts of fools.”

Hamza Yusuf spoke again Sunday at a closing session of the convention entitled “Making Waves, Riding the Currents: Living the Life of Service.”

You can see parts of the conference streamed here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Leaders

soundoff (474 Responses)
  1. crazy

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DC5Qjr7XtM&w=640&h=360]

    August 6, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  2. secular

    There used to be joke in Sindh during height of conversion, a Hindu neighbor spelled "rasso" meaning rope, the nearby cleric construed it as "acceptance of messenger RASOOL of GOD" and given Islamic name.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  3. secular

    The place Afghanistan is actual old name meaning "land of horses" (Sanskrit Ashva = Old Persian Asp = Horse), Kabul river (Kubha) and Oxus (Chakshu) are mentioned in Veda. The name Punjab is a Vedic name for land of five rivers.....

    July 14, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  4. secular

    Accuracy, From ancient Indian scriptures and from various sources /Chinese/Arab travelers we have clear picture of what it was culturally and politically in Pak-Afghan and India. My father studied Rig Veda in traditional mouth to mouth way like they did for past 5000 years. He is a doctorate and has command over Vedic Sanskrit. He has access to very ancient manuscript, there are a lot of people like him doing active research. In my later days I wish to continue. More later.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:15 am |
  5. secular

    In all this cataclysmic event called partition the main culprit were cleric, they did not opt for partition, they wanted India as "ruled before colonization" and in the sphere of Islamic Caliphate.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  6. secular

    Nehru was fighting through democratic and secular credential, if you have majority you rule. Unfortunately Jinnah had one point agenda of taking care of Muslim segment. His grandparent were Hindus. Hence the mistrust, conversion can create such personality who can harm the people of its original faith.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  7. secular

    The lack of their belief or practice among followers is masked with such hatred. About Mahatma Gandhi, he was a great soul, we revere him as "Mahatma a great soul". Unfortunately this is not reciprocated from other side of border might be due to cleric preventing him from being doing so. Now Palestinians started practicing nonviolence way of protest.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  8. secular

    The lack of their belief or practice among followers is masked with such hatred. About Mahatma Gandhi, he was a great soul, we revere him as "Mahatma a great soul". Unfortunately this is not reciprocated from other side of border might be due to cleric preventing him from being doing so. Now Palestinians started practicing nonviolence way of protest. Nehru was fighting through democratic and secular credential, if you have majority you rule. Unfortunately Jinnah had one point agenda of taking care of Muslim segment. His grandparent were Hindus. Hence the mistrust, conversion can create such personality. In all this drama called partition the main culprit was cleric, they did not opt for partition, they wanted India in one piece as "ruled before colonization" in the sphere of Islamic Caliphate. I can go on an on.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:59 am |
  9. secular

    Accuracy, Lots of facts are tempered by today's thinking which has influence from believers from that location. If Bamian Buddha demolition was symbolic then elimination of the whole culture of Hinduism and Buddhism was en masse and complete. The other factor influencing docile nature of Hinduism was people in centuries were converting between Buddhism and Hinduism interchangebly. Not any more, with Islam it is one way ticket.

    If something does not work under Islam it is quickly blamed towards other sect or faith or worse now Jews. You will frequently hear in Pakistan conspiracy theory where they blame straight to RAW, Mossad, CIA in that order.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:58 am |
  10. secular

    Accuracy, Yes I can quote various links, but the fact remains, before partition Mahatma Gandhi was staunch supported of unity and he failed. There were many theory but the fact that Jinnah was hell bent on getting a larger piece of cake in the power structure and Nehru was sticking to his secular and democratic point of whoever wins majority will rule India. There was the third dimension to the whole episode, the clerics were staunchly opposed to it (partition). The reason why was they wanted India under Islamic caliphate like before colonization like under Mughal and other Islamic rulers. This to me was more malicious, now you see how much they play havoc in present day Pakistan.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:42 am |
  11. secular

    To cap this all, another ethnic cleansing happened in the dark history of sub-continent, that mountain area is named Hindukush(Literally means slaughter of Hindus in Persian) around 10/11th century. When someone behaves like Muhajirun custom how do you expect us to feel? Very comfortable or do you feel otherwise.

    The current day I mean converted people of Hindukush are acting like the original Muhajirun invaders "Holier than thou" and in fact they are in alliance with the ME thugs. Coalition is having tough time handling the vicious thugs.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  12. secular

    Also that part of India was sapped of its language and culture, now we are facing the outcome.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  13. secular

    It was norm during Mughal days to teach Persian (official language) at all Madrasa promoted by Mughal rulers (there was no other center for other believers). Haqiqat Rai was victim of bigoted approach and its bias towards Muslims.

    This should explain the great mistrust with this particular faith. Western world started getting used to such demands and might one day face similar challenges. Each trivial demand becomes larger where eventually believers across world will rally for their cause and create what we see in Palestine.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  14. secular

    Do not cross the first cardinal sin "do onto others what you wish others do unto you", every religion conveys the message in different form. Violation of this rule is the cause of conflict and grief across the globe. Why this double standard?

    July 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.