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My Take: Muslims must engage politically, look outside themselves
Muslim Americans must exercise their right to vote and be part of the process, says Khalid Latif.
October 25th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

My Take: Muslims must engage politically, look outside themselves

Editor's Note: Imam Khalid Latif is a chaplain for New York University and executive director of the school's Islamic Center.

By Khalid Latif, Special to CNN

My wife and I were on our way into Bed, Bath and Beyond in late August when I decided to check my office voicemail from my cell phone. I told her I'd meet her inside. When I did, she asked whether I had any messages.

"Just one,” I told her. “I was asked to deliver an invocation at this year's Republican National Convention." She responded with a smile on her face, "Of course you were," and then showed me the pillows she’d selected.

I didn't get a chance to decide whether I would accept the invitation, as Hurricane Isaac changed the RNC schedule and made the decision for me. But before the impending storm blew me off the schedule, I sought advice from friends and colleagues. What were the implications of my participating at the RNC? Would it make sense?

One conservative, evangelical Republican friend told me that it would have been a great way to start a conversation with members of his party who are fed up with the current platform and, amongst other things, the party’s highly anti-Muslim and Islamophobic rhetoric. Now, it seemed, that conversation wouldn't happen.

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But I couldn't understand why it must take a Muslim standing on an RNC stage to get people talking. Is that really the only way a Muslim voice can be heard in the political arena? Realistically, it's not. The other options just require more time, strategy and patience.

Like all other citizens, American Muslims can be heard through our right to vote. We, as a community, can amplify our voice by building coalitions more broadly with other groups. And we can speak the loudest by encouraging our best and brightest to be a part of the system.

Most American Muslims aren't hearing a discourse that tells them to be civically engaged on a local or grassroots level, which is a huge problem. The presidential election is not the only election that takes place in our country; the impact that one can have on local communities is just as important.

We are starting to get this. In comparison to 10 years ago, today we see more Muslim mayors, city council members and commissioners, law enforcement agents, policymakers and others. But there is still a long way to go. Refraining from being part of the process really isn't an option anymore.

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In deciding who to work with or which candidate to support on any level, be it local or national, it's important to be informed beyond one's own needs. Most Muslims keep from building relationships with other groups unless there is some direct impact on us.

We don't stand up for others’ rights as well as we should. Then, when we want others to be there for us and validate our community, we don't get what we need so readily because we weren’t there for their communities or still don’t understand issues beyond our own.

Do you know what conversations are taking place in your local government? Decisions are being made that will affect people who live in your town, your city, your state, your entire country.

If the Muslim community wants people to stand with us when a hateful person protests the building of our mosques, we need to stand with them at their time of need, or even at times when there is no pressing need at all. The myopic perspective that keeps us from thinking strategically and, more importantly, humanely, needs to go.

I watched the presidential debates at the Islamic Center at New York University, where I was joined by my students and community members. I watched so that I could be better informed of the candidates' stances on all issues - including the ones that affect me directly and those that touch people around me.

I will keep telling my students, whom I encouraged to register to vote, that they must think beyond the presidential election and get involved locally. New York City will elect a new mayor next year, along with many other officials, and they should be a part of that process, too.

And I will keep telling them that civic engagement is not just about having your voice heard. It's also about having confidence that you have something to offer that will make society better.

My students, like many other American Muslims, can and should help the growth and development of our country. The time is here for them to see not only how their being Muslim benefits them individually but also how their being Muslim benefits the world around them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Khalid Latif.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Islam • Muslim • Politics

soundoff (1,030 Responses)
  1. American

    Muslims need to know there place in American society "there is none" and that is why they all need to go back to their own countries where they are with their own kind.

    October 26, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      First Amendment. It's you who doesn't belong.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • berticode

      Look what we have here...a son of european immigrants telling others what to do.

      October 26, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  2. REDFIRESTORM

    bonjour - bad french "street girl" putting the heat on poor little obambi-poo -shame on you, like last tango in paris with BK and shak (wink) - looking forward to something good out front tonight - take care, au revoir lance :)

    October 26, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  3. obamaphone

    I love Obama our Muslim President! He gave me my free obamaphone and now I can call all my homies for free. With all these free gov't handouts, me and my 8 kids live great! I don't ever have to work. If I was able to vote (I'm a convicted felon) I would vote for Obama, because he's the best welfare president eva! HOLLA!

    October 26, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Primewonk

      I'm always amuzed when ignorant, fundiot, talibangelical, tea bagger, nutters, like this cretin post these lies.

      I wonder why this fucking idiot is to too stupid to know that the initial phone program – landline minutes – was started by Reagan. And the initial wireless program – phone and minutes – was started by G.W. Bush

      October 26, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • midwest rail

      Sadly, I'd be amazed if they didn't post this nonsense. He!l, they're still pushing the B.S. story about the president's wedding ring.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • berticode

      Oh give it up already. I have seen equal number of whites and blacks in welfare access card shopping lines at WalMart. And so what if Obama is Muslim...I thought America is a secular country that accepts satanism (Church of Satan – created in America), p 0rn, and other decadences.

      October 26, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  4. lerianis

    Muslims have been stepping up. The problem is that their voices are drowned out by the radicals in their religion, just as regular Christians voices are drowned out by the radicals in their religion.

    Mainly because the news media ONLY focuses on those radicals.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Well, it is their job. Why report non stories?

      "Local Muslim buys popcorn" isn't exactly a big headline.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • caesarbc

      No, they are all radicals... it's just that some more than others know when to shut up when in the company of strangers.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Larry Smith

      I wish Muslims in this country and throughout the world join in unison in denouncing each and every violent act done by a Muslim any where in the world. Unfortunately studies show that a large percentage of Muslims feel that violence is justified in achieving political objectives. This needs to change. Please Muslims denounce evil and violent acts from those of your faith.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  5. caesarbc

    What if I asked you, "how do you feel if Muslim Americans votes to change America were important, how do you feel about that?" What would you do?

    October 26, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  6. maltesefalconx9

    It's goddam Christians like you that committed the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear war crimes.
    And you knew about Pearl Harbor all along. "To galvanize public support" – Ha, what malarkey!

    October 26, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Hiroshima wasn't committed in the name of Christianity.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      maltesefalconx9:
      If that is the case, then all the God-forsaken Arab/Muslim countries knew about the 911 plan and did not do anything to preen it–you coward hypocrite traitors.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  7. Mark

    In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and other Muslim countries Christians are not allowed to build a Church. Are the Muslims in these countries "hateful"?

    October 26, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • maltesefalconx9

      They're tired of christians in the CIA trying to control their government and the minds of their smartest people.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Gary

      Maybe not hateful, but quite possibly ignorant or intolerant. They want to protect what they have and don't want others changing their country, ways or beliefs. Actuallly, I would characterize it as being smart.

      Maybe in 1870, "Give me your tired, your poor..."

      But maybe now the Statue of Liberty pedestal should say "Stay home."

      October 26, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Keldorama

      Gary –
      "Maybe not hateful, but quite possibly ignorant or intolerant. They want to protect what they have and don't want others changing their country, ways or beliefs."

      Sounds like Christian Conservatives.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Mark

      The reason I ask is because the author says, "If the Muslim community wants people to stand with us when a hateful person protests the building of our mosques...." Just wondering if he would consider the Muslims in these countries as "hateful"?

      October 26, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • berticode

      You don't know what you are talking about...Bahrain has a lot of Christian churches with big lit crosses.

      October 26, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Gary: Emma Lazarus’ poem reads: “Give me your tired give your poor” but it does not say give me your Muslim mass murderers so they can destroy the WTC and the rest of my country.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    St. John of Damascus’s Critique of Islam

    Webmaster note: The following passage is from Saint John’s monumental work, the Fount of Knowledge, part two enti-tled Heresies in Epitome: How They Began and Whence They Drew Their Origin. It is usually just cited as Heresies. The translator’s introduction points out that Fount of Knowledge is one of the most “important single works produced in the Greek patristic period,…offering as it does an extensive and lucid synthesis of the Greek theological science of the whole period. It is the first great Summa of theology to appear in either the East or the West.” Saint John (+ 749) is considered one of the great Fathers of the Church, and his writings hold a place of high honor in the Church. His critique of Islam, or “the heresy of the Ishmaelites,” is especially relevant for our times.

    There is also the supersti-tion of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or dest-itute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: ‘Sara hath sent me away desti-tute.’ [99] These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabár, which means great. [100] And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, [101] devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.

    He says that there is one God, creator of all things, who has neither been begotten nor has begotten. [102] He says that the Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit, but a creature and a servant, and that He was begotten, without seed, of Mary the sister of Moses and Aaron. [103] For, he says, the Word and God and the Spirit entered into Mary and she brought forth Jesus, who was a prophet and servant of God. And he says that the Jews wanted to crucify Him in violation of the law, and that they seized His shadow and crucified this. But the Christ Himself was not crucified, he says, nor did He die, for God out of His love for Him took Him to Himself into heaven. [104] And he says this, that when the Christ had ascended into heaven God asked Him: ‘O Jesus, didst thou say: “I am the Son of God and God”?’ And Jesus, he says, answered: ‘Be merciful to me, Lord. Thou knowest that I did not say this and that I did not scorn to be thy servant. But sinful men have written that I made this statement, and they have lied about me and have fallen into error.’ And God answered and said to Him: ‘I know that thou didst not say this word.” [105] There are many other extraordinary and quite ridiculous things in this book which he boasts was sent down to him from God. But when we ask: ‘And who is there to testify that God gave him the book? And which of the prophets foretold that such a prophet would rise up?’—they are at a loss. And we remark that Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, with God appearing in the sight of all the people in cloud, and fire, and darkness, and storm. And we say that all the Prophets from Moses on down foretold the coming of Christ and how Christ God (and incarnate Son of God) was to come and to be crucified and die and rise again, and how He was to be the judge of the living and dead. Then, when we say: ‘How is it that this prophet of yours did not come in the same way, with others bearing witness to him? And how is it that God did not in your presence present this man with the book to which you refer, even as He gave the Law to Moses, with the people looking on and the mountain smoking, so that you, too, might have certainty?’—they answer that God does as He pleases. ‘This,’ we say, ‘We know, but we are asking how the book came down to your prophet.’ Then they reply that the book came down to him while he was asleep. Then we jokingly say to them that, as long as he received the book in his sleep and did not actually sense the operation, then the popular adage applies to him (which runs: You’re spinning me dreams.) [106]

    When we ask again: ‘How is it that when he enjoined us in this book of yours not to do anything or receive anything without witnesses, you did not ask him: “First do you show us by witnesses that you are a prophet and that you have come from God, and show us just what Scriptures there are that testify about you”’—they are ashamed and remain silent. [Then we continue:] ‘Although you may not marry a wife without witnesses, or buy, or acquire property; although you neither receive an a-ss nor possess a beast of burden unwitnessed; and although you do possess both wives and property and as-ses and so on through witnesses, yet it is only your faith and your scriptures that you hold unsubstantiated by witnesses. For he who handed this down to you has no warranty from any source, nor is there anyone known who testified about him before he came. On the contrary, he received it while he was asleep.’

    Moreover, they call us Hetaeriasts, or Associators, because, they say, we introduce an associate with God by declaring Christ to the Son of God and God. We say to them in rejoinder: ‘The Prophets and the Scriptures have delivered this to us, and you, as you persistently maintain, accept the Prophets. So, if we wrongly declare Christ to be the Son of God, it is they who taught this and handed it on to us.’ But some of them say that it is by misinterpretation that we have represented the Prophets as saying such things, while others say that the Hebrews hated us and deceived us by writing in the name of the Prophets so that we might be lost. And again we say to them: ‘As long as you say that Christ is the Word of God and Spirit, why do you accuse us of being Hetaeriasts? For the word, and the spirit, is inseparable from that in which it naturally has existence. Therefore, if the Word of God is in God, then it is obvious that He is God. If, however, He is outside of God, then, according to you, God is without word and without spirit. Consequently, by avoiding the introduction of an associate with God you have mutilated Him. It would be far better for you to say that He has an associate than to mutilate Him, as if you were dealing with a stone or a piece of wood or some other inanimate object. Thus, you speak untruly when you call us Hetaeriasts; we retort by calling you Mutilators of God.’

    They furthermore accuse us of being idolaters, because we venerate the cross, which they abominate. And we answer them: ‘How is it, then, that you rub yourselves against a stone in your Ka’ba [107] and kiss and embrace it?’ Then some of them say that Abraham had relations with Agar upon it, but others say that he tied the camel to it, when he was going to sacrifice Isaac. And we answer them: ‘Since Scripture says that the mountain was wooded and had trees from which Abraham cut wood for the holocaust and laid it upon Isaac, [108] and then he left the as-ses behind with the two young men, why talk nonsense? For in that place neither is it thick with trees nor is there passage for asses.’ And they are embarrassed, but they still assert that the stone is Abraham’s. Then we say: ‘Let it be Abraham’s, as you so foolishly say. Then, just because Abraham had relations with a woman on it or tied a camel to it, you are not ashamed to kiss it, yet you blame us for venerating the cross of Christ by which the power of the demons and the deceit of the Devil was destroyed.’ This stone that they talk about is a head of that Aphrodite whom they used to worship and whom they called Khabár. Even to the present day, traces of the carving are visible on it to careful observers.

    As has been related, this Mohammed wrote many ridiculous books, to each one of which he set a t-itle. For example, there is the book On Woman, [109] in which he plainly makes legal provision for taking four wives and, if it be possible, a thousand concubines—as many as one can maintain, besides the four wives. He also made it legal to put away whichever wife one might wish, and, should one so wish, to take to oneself another in the same way. Mohammed had a friend named Zeid. This man had a beautiful wife with whom Mohammed fell in love. Once, when they were sitting together, Mohammed said: ‘Oh, by the way, God has commanded me to take your wife.’ The other answered: ‘You are an apostle. Do as God has told you and take my wife.’ Rather—to tell the story over from the beginning—he said to him: ‘God has given me the command that you put away your wife.’ And he put her away. Then several days later: ‘Now,’ he said, ‘God has commanded me to take her.’ Then, after he had taken her and committed adultery with her, he made this law: ‘Let him who will put away his wife. And if, after having put her away, he should return to her, let another marry her. For it is not lawful to take her unless she have been married by another. Furthermore, if a brother puts away his wife, let his brother marry her, should he so wish.’ [110] In the same book he gives such precepts as this: ‘Work the land which God hath given thee and beautify it. And do this, and do it in such a manner” [111]—not to repeat all the obscene things that he did.

    Then there is the book of The Camel of God. [112] About this camel he says that there was a camel from God and that she drank the whole river and could not pass through two mountains, because there was not room enough. There were people in that place, he says, and they used to drink the water on one day, while the camel would drink it on the next. Moreover, by drinking the water she furnished them with nourishment, because she supplied them with milk instead of water. Then, because these men were evil, they rose up, he says, and killed the camel. However, she had an offspring, a little camel, which, he says, when the mother had been done away with, called upon God and God took it to Himself. Then we say to them: ‘Where did that camel come from?’ And they say that it was from God. Then we say: ‘Was there another camel coupled with this one?’ And they say: ‘No.’ ‘Then how,’ we say, ‘was it begotten? For we see that your camel is without father and without mother and without genealogy, and that the one that begot it suffered evil. Neither is it evident who bred her. And also, this little camel was taken up. So why did not your prophet, with whom, according to what you say, God spoke, find out about the camel—where it grazed, and who got milk by milking it? Or did she possibly, like her mother, meet with evil people and get destroyed? Or did she enter into paradise before you, so that you might have the river of milk that you so foolishly talk about? For you say that you have three rivers flowing in paradise—one of water, one of wine, and one of milk. If your forerunner the camel is outside of paradise, it is obvious that she has dried up from hunger and thirst, or that others have the benefit of her milk—and so your prophet is boasting idly of having conversed with God, because God did not reveal to him the mystery of the camel. But if she is in paradise, she is drinking water still, and you for lack of water will dry up in the midst of the paradise of delight. And if, there being no water, because the camel will have drunk it all up, you thirst for wine from the river of wine that is flowing by, you will become intoxicated from drinking pure wine and collapse under the influence of the strong drink and fall asleep. Then, suffering from a heavy head after sleeping and being sick from the wine, you will miss the pleasures of paradise. How, then, did it not enter into the mind of your prophet that this might happen to you in the paradise of delight? He never had any idea of what the camel is leading to now, yet you did not even ask him, when he held forth to you with his dreams on the subject of the three rivers. We plainly assure you that this wonderful camel of yours has preceded you into the souls of asses, where you, too, like beasts are destined to go. And there is the exterior darkness and everlasting punishment, roaring fire, sleepless worms, and hellish demons.’

    Again, in the book of The Table, Mohammed says that the Christ asked God for a table and that it was given Him. For God, he says, said to Him: ‘I have given to thee and thine an incorruptible table.’ [113]

    And again, in the book of The Heifer, [114] he says some other stupid and ridiculous things, which, because of their great number, I think must be passed over. He made it a law that they be circu-mcised and the women, too, and he ordered them not to keep the Sabbath and not to be baptized.

    And, while he ordered them to eat some of the things forbidden by the Law, he ordered them to abstain from others. He furthermore absolutely forbade the drinking of wine.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      My critique of all Abrahamic faiths:

      They're for retards.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • A Muslim

      Thank you So much for posting this. Even though Muslims do have answers for everything that you stated here. (like was Mohammad predicted in old/new testiment etc), I would really encourage everyone to read the Quraan and decide for yourself. That is all we muslims are required to do by Allah, to pass on what was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the rest is between you and Allah. No one can change your heart and make you change your faith forcefully. If a muslim is forcing anyone to convert then Allah will not only punish him/her for that deed but also will punish him for pushing that other person away from Islam by trying their belief on them. To those who state that Islam was spread by sword i beg to ask, do you really think that if someone forcefully makes you change your faith, will you stick with the new one? Never.
      Do you think that Talibans are the representative of Islam? If so Read Quran and you will know that Talibans are doing everything that is forbidden in Islam. Just Read the Book. Rest is between you and Allah.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Liber Tarian

      It is ironic that someone who believes in someone considered by the original worshipers of the one God (the Jews) to be a heretic would call Mohammed a heretic, someone who professed belief in the SAME God of Abraham. In fact, I find it quite funny that they all deny each other, as if each has a right to claim their last prophet as THE last prophet and the most relevant, totally denying the possibility that humans of later epochs could have been just as philosophical and enlightened as their predecessors while at the same time claiming that the previous prophets were misunderstood by their followers. Sounds more like political advertising than real religious belief to me...

      October 26, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Rational Libertarian:
      The ideology of Islam is not an Abrahamic religion. It is written in the Bible that there were Arabs in what is now Saudi Arabia before Abraham, therefore, not all Saudi Arabians are direct descendants of Abraham. Only the Jews and the descendants of Ishmael and Esau are also descendants of Abraham but today, many Muslims from that area claim to be descendants of Abraham because they are affected by Maslow’s sense of belongingness.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  9. berticode

    If you are middle class or female and thinking of voting for Romney, you got to have your head examined. I agree with you about the outsourcing.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If you don't want your hard earned money to be stolen and you're voting for Obama, a head examination is also recommended.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • rodboy

      Berti – do you shop at Walmart, do you drive a foreign car, do you look a label for US made? If you answer is yes to any one then you are an out sourcer calling the kettle black.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Earlier this year, American billionaire Sheldon Adelson completed construction of his $4.4 billion Macau Empire in China, which is the world's sixth largest building and the largest resort, hotel and casino in the world. It took 25,000 Chinese workers to complete and it now employs just over 35,000 Chinese workers. The project was delayed due to the 2008 recession and construction was haulted again when the Chinese government stepped in and protested against the import of foreign workers to complete the job. The massive complex opened earlier this year following "a traditional Chinese dragon dance, high-wire tightrope performance and the unveiling of a 2,500 kilogram (5,500 pound) bronze and gold God of Fortune statue." The resort and casino complex is estimated to pump billions of dollars into the Chinese economy annually. O' and by the way, earlier this year Mr. Adelson donated $100 million to Mitt Romney's campaign. As they say, those who OUTSOURCE together flock together.

    Remember the controversial 47% speech Romney made while dining with his rich friends earlier this year? Well, in that speech, he spoke about a plant his Bain firm bought and opened in China and then he spoke so passionately about the 20,000 female Chinese workers that his firm hired. And he went on to explain how he was moved by the deplorable working conditions these Chinese workers were subjected too, the small and cramped living quarters and how he and his Bain team asked the Chinese authorities why there was a fence erected to keep the workers in. Yes, Romnesia's friend Scott Walker can strip American workers of their collective bargaining rights and their tool to fight for better working conditions but he has tears in his eyes like John Boehner when he talked about poor workers in China. Let's face it, you Americans out there better wake up and reconsider your support for Romnesia because it would be your future and your family's future at stake if he gets elected.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • MTG

      Dude, I salute you!! Well spoken my friend!!

      October 26, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  11. Ken

    Listen you Jackwagon, The GOP is NOT anti-Muslim or anti anything for that matter. The GOP is Pro-America. By their deafening silence on the terrorism issue, it would see that Muslims are Pro-Terror.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Conrad Shull

      Exactly, time to let the Taliban get back to business in Afghanistan without any troublesome interference from the US.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Conrad Shull

      Wrong thread – meant it for the one below.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      You mean like Irish Catholics are all drunkards, like Jews are all money grubbing usurers, like Italians are all Mafiosi, like all Blacks are lazy? Just checkin'.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  12. maltesefalconx9

    It's not time for Muslims to "step up".
    It is now the right time for Amerikans to STEP DOWN. And stop your goddam interfering!

    October 26, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  13. Caroline

    Stop it with the religion BS. The muslim 'religion' is just another form of totalitarian government to keep Arab men from killing each other and to keep Arab women under a blanket. Don't bother with it, just keep these people out of this country so they don't spread this political garbage here. It's the perfect government for stupid Arabs.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  14. Diogonese

    If Islam is so peaceful and great, where are the Muslim protesters when the Malalals of the world are assassinated, innocent women stoned and tortured and forced into horrible living conditions, and ridiculous fatwas pronounced by some jackleg imam that some person must die? The list of worldwide Islamic atrocities goes on and on...against both Muslims and everybody else. The reason protest is nonexistent is because intelligent Muslims know that the imams will sic terrorists and the "faithful" after them. It is simply safer to lay low and keep quiet. Islam is...and always has been...a religion of intolerance, violence and shallow thinking.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Moe

      Hey stoopid, you only choose to listen about the crimes but you ignore when muslims do protest or criticize it. In the articles about Malala it clearly says that Pakistanis have been preotesting against the Taliban. Also about the Libya consulate attack, it says that Libyans protested against the militias and kicked them out.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  15. dusty

    Labelling those who disagree with you "hatemongers" is sad argument to deny the worldwide anti-democratic and repressive essence of Islamic nations. Do you really believe that they are magically changed to Jeffersonian democrats when they reach the U.S.?

    October 26, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      Excellent point Dusty. If an American wishes to become a citizen of an Islamic country, there is but one choice; he/she MUST convert to Islam. In the history of Islam, whenever a country fell under Islamic control, infidels had to pay a tax, and eventually had to convert. There simply is no "tolerance" of other religions And if a muslim goes to another country, in order to remain a "good" muslim, he continually prays to Mecca, and continues allegiance to the homeland. You will notice I said "He". Women are not allowed to pray in a mosque with the men. Women are second class citizens in Islamic countries.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Poltergiest

      I think there are people of all persuasions in any country. Would a klan member from the mountains of appalachia change his ways just because he moved to the middle east? No, because that kind of American would never move to the middle east.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  16. Kevin

    That last sentence in the article is crucial. Muslims must take a look at how their religion impacts the world. And they must be ready for that answer even if it isn't flattering to Islam. How do the followers of Islam treat members of other religions? As equals? With equal respect? And we must engage with facts.

    If you truly believe that your God or religion is superior to others, you must present facts (not mindlessly recounting something from old texts written by folks we've never met) to support that. If nobody can provide facts as to why their God or religion is superior, you should proceed with a very quiet observance of your religion and with a pure sense of equality for people who worship under another name.

    October 26, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • wannt2believe

      I hope you realize that same argument applies to every religion, not just Islam...

      Especially the "How do the followers of X treat members of other religions?"

      October 26, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • saurov

      very well said man. the onus is on them as all facts
      depict an opposite picture.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  17. GH

    "Like all other citizens, American Muslims"
    This statement and others like it are part of the problem in this country. You are not American Muslim, African American, Asian American, If you live in this country and are a citizen (legally) you are AMERICAN period. These types of statements and people dividing themselves from the American culture because they want to be American Muslim, African American, etc. are a real problem in this country. We have become to politically correct in this country.

    October 26, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • DC Johnny

      Excellent statement. Nothing said here could be more true.

      Unfortunately, in the name of reaching 50.1% or 270 every 2 or 4 years, the dichotomy of Washington has us believing that the federal government is essentially a pie, from which we and those like us in gender, ethnicity, religion, preference, salary range, etc. must unite to seize what is rightfully "ours" before the opposing group takes it.

      This struggle will necessarily reduce the overall size of the pie considerably over time, only exacerbating the above struggles.

      I believe the era of patriotism is long dead. We signed our death warrants as a nation and as a society decades ago.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • doughnuts

      "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all... The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic... There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else."
      –Teddy Roosevelt, 1889

      October 26, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  18. Peedy Oor-ree-on

    Americans need to understand that in Islamic countries, no other religion is tolerated, period. The big misunderstanding is that Islam is NOT a religion, personal and private unto oneself. It is a system of government with religious interpreters dictating policy. It is a theocracy. And this type of totalitarian government demands that the populace conform, or else. It is simple: either convert, or pay a tax, or leave... or die.

    October 26, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Keldorama

      That is simply not true. I have a niece enrolled in the NYU Global Studies program in Abu Dhabi, UAE. We spent last Thanksgiving there. We saw many examples of Christianity displayed in private homes, commercial buildings, and in other retail establishments. Many organizations had advertisements in local publications for Christmas tree lighting events for the 1st week in December. Now, while I understand that the UAE is the most progressive of most "Islamic countries", your blanket statement is factually incorrect.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • AK

      Your blanket statement on Islam is a reflection of the mind numbing, watered down version of images that you see in the media. Islam is a way of life, not just the rhetoric, that advocates for all of it's followers to live a peaceful, integrated life among themselves and in society at large. Now, I will be the first to tell you that there are some crazy, radical, violent and discriminating views by a minority of Muslims. They want total utalitarian control of the world by eliminating all others but themselves. I will also tell you that the Governmental systems that exsits in the name of Islamic Government in the Muslim world is a far cry and a shame of what true Islamic Governance and laws should be. But I will counter argue that by saying that the same holds true, by the way, about Christianity and Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism; so it exists wherever you go. The sensationization of focusing on just Islamic extremists has skewed people's perceptions about Muslims. Take a look in India, take a look in the West Bank, and take a hard look at America....yes your America....where the Tea Party and Right-Wing Conservatives hold the same ideologies as some extremists. When you take a look at these examples, you see that if the media were to sensationalize their ideologies as much as they have with the Muslims, the tide would turn. But they can't, because that doesn't give them ratings. But getting back to your point: if you want to critique Islam, that is your right. But critique it factually, and critique it after talking to non-violent, centrist thinking Muslims.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  19. Jim

    Burn the Quran and see how much tollerance they have of others-LMAO!

    October 26, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Frank S

      Jim dude, remember the Tennessee mosque that was burned to the ground? There is no monopoly on intolerant nutcakes.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Taskmaster

      Jim: Burn a Quran and I promise you that the mask of peace and love will fall to the ground and Hate and the desire to murder will be revealed.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • U

      @Jim. And that is the best answer you come up with.."Burn" . Why don't you get your brain inspected that is filled with hatred and instigation of violence.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • DC Johnny

      Jim has a point – albeit presented in a less-than-intelligent way.

      An uncomfortably large percentage of the Muslim world will take up arms and threaten retaliatory violence for something as simple as the desecration of a book. Not to say that such action is not incredibly offensive, but the bottom line is that any society where taking dozens of innocent lives is considered retribution for desecration of a book is nowhere near the civil society that the modern world requires.

      If Muslims want to join the world and embrace the benefits of a smaller and smaller global experience, they need to denounce such activities and grow as a civil society.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Moe

      Jim – So you're tolerant? You're the one who wants to burn things that are important to other people.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Frank S:
      How do you know if it was not a Muslims inside job what burned that mosque in order to portray themselves as victims, to create sympathy and to claim the insurance payment? There are a bunch of crooks, swindlers and con artists in the Muslims sects. Or did you think just because they raise their smelly behinds five times a day in an alleged prayer that makes them sinless and devote Muslims?

      October 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  20. Amadea

    Lance ... take a pill and a looonnnngggg nap.

    October 26, 2012 at 7:53 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.