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October 1st, 2010
03:08 PM ET

Muslims speak - and sing - for themselves

Native Deen, a Muslim hip-hop group, adds its voice to the 'My Faith My Voice' grassroots campaign. From left to right are Joshua Salaam, Abdul-Malik Ahmad and Naeem Muhammad.

They’d grown tired of the frenzy swirling around discussions of an Islamic center near ground zero. They were sick of being feared and misunderstood. They didn't want the same talking heads representing them and their beliefs.

So a grassroots campaign called “My Faith My Voice” was born to let everyday Muslims speak for themselves.

Launched online one month ago by young American Muslim professionals in the Washington, D.C., area, the online campaign invites Muslims to upload their own 30-second message to Americans – a public service announcement, of sorts, to help viewers understand who American Muslims really are.

More than 200 PSAs have been uploaded so far, telling stories of what Islam means and what being Muslim means to those who’ve participated.

They include Noor, who wants people to know she’s the daughter of a Vietnam vet, the wife of a former Marine and an American woman who honors her faith by respecting others.

There’s Jay, a DJ and music producer who says he loves all mankind, “unless you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, but that’s just the New Yorker in me talking.”

And there’s Nagla, who wants viewers to know she was not forced into marriage and chooses to wear her headscarf.

Jumping into the discussion this week is Native Deen, a Muslim hip-hop group that released a PSA in the form of a music video entitled “My Faith My Voice.”

See the Native Deen music video PSA here.

“We saw the campaign, and we wanted to do something,” says Abdul-Malik Ahmad, 35, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area and is a web developer for NASA when he isn’t steeped in music.

“We felt that we really needed to come out with something to explain what most, the majority of Muslims in this country and around the world feel about terrorism and how they feel about tolerance and respect for other faiths, respect for humanity and for human life.”

Through the lyrics, Ahmad and the other Native Deen artists - Joshua Salaam and Naeem Muhammad - put forth a message:

Giving you the right facts, we keep repeating that
Islam has been hijacked, we ain’t like that.
Then some lunatic goes on a rampage
Using violence and I’m outraged.
This is senseless, and its gruesome
Please don’t let this be a Muslim.
Aw man, we’re all vilified
They’re saying we are savages, uncivilized.
….
Go use the same steam, for youth to stay clean
Our earth to stay green, we want the same thing.
‘Stead of burning books, extinguish disease
Help spark the flame to help children in need.

Critical to the campaign says Rabiah Ahmed, one of the project’s managers, is to give voice to all sorts of Muslims living in America.

“We want to showcase the reality, the diversity, the immigrant Muslims, those with thick accents, those that don’t have accents,” she says of the volunteer-driven effort. “And we wanted it to be completely grassroots and independent so it didn’t carry with it any of the political baggage.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Islam • Muslim • Technology

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    The oath.the swear by that is taken by all country legals and financials afairs not  forgeting that you told the world in your currancy;
    In God we trust? And now you tell us that your majorty are ;
    – agnostics.
    – atheists.
    – seculars.
    – infidels.
    – miscreants.
    – polytheists.
    – pagans.
    What ever else you have ?
    Do not realy understand how in God we trust when you say there is no God to trust or take or make an oath with ?

    October 7, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  2. Eyewoya

    I'm sorry, but muslims can be hypocrites sometimes, i am a muslim myself and just because i come from a culture that doesn't wear hijab except when we praying or going to the mosque, these so-called muslim brothers call my sisters "non-believers". They go so far to abuse other muslim minority sects like Ahmadiyya and Bahai and call them non muslims. How can there be peace in Islamic world when muslims cannot tolerate other muslims with a slightly different believes than they do and they want to build a mosque in NY? Please i thought we were all about peace, if they don't want it there build it somewhere.

    October 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Eyewoya.
      You say that your faith in Islamic religion has some differences of the Islam and the hadeeth of P.Muhammed, SAW?. What could that be far from actual belief? As I am not familure with the differences?
      About the wearing of Hijab and cover body parts all came in the Quran and the only thing that did not come is Nikab if you are talking of? Besides there is a saying that says if you are in Rome do what the Romans do. So if you are in a known neighborhood of majority of conservative Muslims then either you do as they do or change your neighborhood and community to which you dress and act like. I guess that is the best rather than blaming Islam when not acting like one, sorry no effence was meant.

      October 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  3. bigotRus

    @Muneef
    The following was posted to you yesterday, kindly respond:

    You seem to be a proud Muslim and must be applauded for your effort. Like Enduring_Freedom I am interested only in serious exchanges without resorting to insult and inflame the situation further.

    You said and I quote: [what ever happening now must hold a cause since no body will kill him self Shouting Allah Wa Akbar for nothing for no cause, would they?]

    Whatever their cause is do you think it is justified? I refer to the killing of innocents.

    October 3, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • Muneef

      @bigotRus.
      Sorry not seen it before now as normally I follow down thinking to be the latest any way you have asked a question and my answer to it is do others like you want others to do you.  I do not agree to the killing of the innocents what ever or where ever the combat is individual suicide bomb or armies in war as in Gaza strip,West bank,Lebanon,Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan,former Yugoslavia weren't all those Muslims or non Muslims there were innocent families women and Children? Or is it on official Army wars it is allowed to kill sacrificing as many innocents as possible for chasing few radicals but as to the radical terrorists individuals or groups are they are not to follow the lead of the example and sacrifice innocents. This Uncle Tom and Jerry the ghost show has been pulled on us to invade our countries and to CowMilk the American population,tax payers. God knows better what is happening to us on earth.!?

      October 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      @bigotRus.
      BismAllah althee laydor maa issmahw shee fee-Alared walla fee-Alssama wahowa Alsammi AlAleem. Adding for your information's Uncle Tom has raised Jerry and prepared him to be for his assistance in fighting the communists out of Afghanistan area under the motion that Christians and Muslims against the communist that does not believe in God or Religion.
      But now that Jerry's job is over he has to be wiped out because Uncle Tom turned out to be a non Christian believer and because he was in disguise of a Christen then they thought he must be the Anti-Christ or the Corrupted Christ so you see fearing that Jerry finds out about It Uncle Tom decided to wipe them Jerry's out or make use of the situation of the chase to invade countries on the way of quest and impose his policies besides other acts we hear of every days.
      Beside that Uncle Tom and his allies have opened their doors to the running out their countries for being sent out or to enjoy investing in the so called rights and freedoms such as those are the Chiefs of radicals who the Tom's were able to conspire with or through them Chiefs by financing them to execute Tom's plans in the area of interest for things to happen in the name of Islam. Those individuals giving out their lives shouting Allah Wa Akbar before kill and be killed, these young men die sacrificing their lives in believe of the cause they were raised and brought up to believe from their religious schools which must be financed by a spider web of Chiefs or lords of wars and conspiracies preparing them youngsters to be victimized in believing what they are being programed for which would be normally according to the needs of changing plans, those young's once in the group or job cannot turn back and say count me out! Which I am sure the group would consider it as  Radah or murtad or traitor and be killed both ways a dead young victimized  person who counts as well as a deceived innocence?
      Hope you manage to understand since my grammar is just of an unlettered.
      My Allah have mercy on me if am I am wrong of I said there but the occurrences of things looks up to me as it is above but the real truth is with God and Players of the present game movie.!?        

      October 3, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • Muneef

      @bigotRus.
      Have wrote you three comments back but two showing as being moderated so I do not know if you can see it or not?

      October 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  4. John

    While they keep showing us one face here they keep doing the real stuff over there where they are in majority;

    " Houses and a mosque of the Ahmadiyya sect were burnt late on Friday in Indonesia in an attack on a village of followers."

    http://www.channelstv.com/global/news_details.php?nid=23088&cat=International

    October 3, 2010 at 6:57 am |
  5. John

    While they keep showing us one face here they keep doing the real stuff over there where they are in majority;

    "Houses and a mosque of the Ahmadiyya sect were burnt late on Friday in Indonesia in an attack on a village of followers. "

    http://www.channelstv.com/global/news_details.php?nid=23088&cat=International

    October 3, 2010 at 6:51 am |
  6. divine truth

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nkYu2p6qlE&w=640&h=360]

    October 3, 2010 at 5:44 am |
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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.