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.
Shr'ia law (oppression/submission) and democracy (freedom) cannot peacefully coexist. The same can be said about Christian believers (followers of the Light of Jesus Christ) and atheists/humanists (you are you're own god) will be separated eternally. Choose carefully...
"Time for Muslims to step up"?? I think the world has seen more than enough of Muslims stepping up. The writer is utterly clueless on Islam What Islam clearly teaches, for anyone who bothers to look, is actively bringing about what they call armegeddon, which to them is the end of the world through violence and chaos, and they are very active in doing so. Islam preaches destruction of Israel! Islam teaches destruction of the United States! What part of this do we NOT understand? Duh! They are actively engaged in imposing Islam in each and every country from without and from within. Which is exactly what is happening in the United States.
We have Barry, oops, I mean Obama as president. That is about as Muslim as this country should become. 3 more days!
Sadly most "moderate" Muslim leaders in America have very radical beliefs. It is time for Muslims to renounce the radical teachings in their faith before they should ever thing about becoming politically involved in this nation.
When muslims get rid of the extremists in their midst, I'll take their political opinions a bit more seriously.
I served in the United States Army for 24 years. I am retired military and a 90% disabled Vet. I signed away my life to the United States to give everything including and up to my death for this country. Everyone has the right to say what they want thats the 1st Amendment but some people are plain stupid. If you stay away from people you make them your enemy. Hatred is not go for anyone in any country. I am a proud Muslim who looks at people saying they love their brother. Judiasm, Christianity and Islam have the same God all with roots to Abraham. All are monotheistic or believe in one God. It's easy to say you hate muslims but want the islamic countries to show you love after your showing out right hate. Our enemies will show them love. I dont see how that is thinking positively or Jesus like. May God bless the people who seek peace in such a hateful world.
Sorry, the Islamic god is not the same as the Judeo Christian God. Very different characteristics...
I also have family members in the military, and their report of Muslims in Afghanistan and are that they were one step above animals. Not showing this "love" you mention, or the so called "Religion of Peace". Open your eyes my brother...
1/4 of the freshman college class I teach is Muslim. They're wonderful kids, but they are also terribly prejudiced against gays. Gay people whose taxes pay for refugee benefits, who educate them and their children, who defend their rights to worship as they wish, who help them become part of the fabric of America. Then with a few years of experience in America, they vote that gays aren't humans who deserve equal civil rights.
While I think everyone should exercise the franchise, I'm okay with Muslims assimilating a little further before they start voting.
This is the real problem, for me: 1. est. 1.5 Billion muslims in the world. WE are told that the killings, torture, etc., are the actions of a few radicals? IF TRUE, then WHY do the MANY let the FEW, represent and define what muslims and their religion are all about? 2. Their Qur'an does teach that it is perfectly OK, to KILL ALL the indidels, which includes US! Their religious leaders SUPPORT this, in that they say nothing about condemning the "extremists"! 3. Muslims & their religion is messed up, and even they do not understand what it says! I say this because they have NO problem killing other muslims, whether it is men, women or children, THEIR OWN PEOPLE!! 4. To ACCEPT the fact that in killing others will get you virgins, and an entry to Alla's kingdom, is truly disgusting! I know of NO other religion that teaches such junk! 5. UNTIL, muslims, STAND UP to PROVE to the world, that muslims & Islam is peaceful and ACTIVELY seek out those that pervert their beleifs & get rid of them, don't have to kill them, ALL muslims will have to accept the fact that they are being watched and monitored!
So basically, if X% of population A exhibit behavior B, then (100 – X)% of population A should engage in behavior C.
Most American Muslims want to project an image that they are "moderate" and definitely don't support terrorism.
But if you speak to them privately, or hear what they say among themselves, it's very different. To a person they will all say that Israel must be destroyed. There are other examples of this duplicity as well, which is codified in a concept called: Taqiyya (lying to futher Islam).
Taqayya is a Shia concept and Shias are a very small minority. You just surf to collect material to spread evangelical hate. You have no knowledge of Muslims or Islam
Taqqyia is a Muslim teaching followed by Muslims worldwide, not just a small group...
Mike in Colo – I agree that either the Koran or the Bible can be used by extremists to promote their own agenda – this is the down side of freedom of speech. My point is don't be afraid to speak out. It has been approx. a year since the middle east dictators were removed and look at what the people have gained – The Muslim Brotherhood; running those countries with an iron fist and killing anyone who opposes them. We would be foolish to ignore their long term plans. Americans think in terms of years but Muslims plan in terms of millennia. Everyone needs to wake up to their agenda.
Any scripture can be interpreted for personal agenda. Unlike science that clear ambiguities, scriptures create confusion.
The amount of people who are so closed minded is disturbing. Do you realize that those of you who are "Muslim-bashing" have the exact same extremist mentality against them as they have against you. The Muslim religion is actually quite enlightening if you learn a little bit about it and if you actually took a moment to know someone who practices I encourage you to ask them some questions. And before anyone asks, no, I'm not a Muslim, I am a Catholic Christian and I go to church every Sunday and participate in the choir for multiple occasions and holidays. Extremists don't want to understand us and you "Muslim-bashing" extremists don't want to understand them. Extremists are just that, extremists, just like murderers are murderers, rapists are rapists, etc. It doesn't matter what religion any of those are they are what they are. Stop singling out the religion, get over yourself, learn something new, have tolerance for people who are just as close minded as you.
I think Muslims are very actively politically. I have no idea what this author is referring to. We even elected a Muslim as President... I have a hard time feeling sorry for a religion where women are degraded and liberties are for sale.
OBAMAS NOT MUSLIM. damn, what does it take these days to get people to get rid of that stupid notion?
Obama is not a Muslim. He has only attended churches of christian mythology. Surely no one is so stupid as to not be able to understand that if his father was a Kenyan Muslim that does not make him one too? Oh, that's right. America are full of people unable to comprehend this. Frankly, I would prefer a President who was not wallowing in any mythology whether Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. I do have advice for Muslims- if you are smart you will vote Democrat. The Christian Republican Taliban want to blow you off the planet.
Yes Obama is a Muslim, and yes he was born in Kenya. What else do you dumb teabagger have to say? He is gay? Do you have to say anything about your Mormon son of a Mexican?
What's wrong with Mexicans? Romney's dad was born in Mexico, but Romney was born in the US.
Whats wrong with Mormons? Mormons believe in the greatness of the United States, more than any other American religion.
It shouldn't surprise me- but never fails to- that the least common denominator of readers (seemingly, the only people who comment on anything) respond in this way to a call for positive action. Luckily, the people commenting here are not an accurate representation of the whole of our country. I will be happy to see more Muslims take office and begin the long process of (if not freeing people of prejudice) making them too embarrassed to voice it.
And fortunately – that will never happen. You can't shut up the Christians in the USA. Maybe you should move to the middle east – sadly they are a minority that is being exterminated (by your Islamic buddies) as we speak.
America – we need to wake up to the Islamic agenda-they will never accept people of different religions thus the murder of coptic Christians in Egypt and other Christians in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria who are murdered and/or terrorized for their belief. Their goal is world domination thru religion. Their God Alah is not our God Jehovah...stop being politically correct and tell these people to stay in the middle east. Excuse me-they have already infliltrated Eurpoe but the US is off limits to your fanatacism...sharia law....the US will not accept a violation of our rights......Praise God and his son Jesus-in God we Trust.
And the KKK famously lynched many African-Americans in the past as God-fearing Christians (but they only wanted white Christians of course). Even Christianity and the bible can be used to further an agenda, as Islamic extremists do the Quran. There was a nice Frontline story lon TV ast week of a recent KKK rally and cross-burning which of course included prayers to a Christian God.
no, Margie....the US will not accept a violation of their rights unless they are the ones violating it. you talk as if ONLY Muslims are the ones who are causing death......tell me how many Muslims have started religious groups in the US to blow up buildings, slaughter people, or drink the punch........do not try to cast those into a light of hatred when those holding the flashlight are in that same light theirselves.
Muslims are very active in politics, in fact Islam is a political party and not a religion. It is a political party that uses religion to force people to do what they want. Just look what Islam has done in Africa and the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, the poster child of Islam has kicked every Jew out of their country and Islam is the only religion that is allowed. Hitler would be proud...
There are more practicing Muslims than practicing Jews in this country. Can you name me one Muslim congressman or senator besides Keith Ellison? I bet you know 100 Jewish congressmen/senators
"political party that uses religion to get what they want"
how many people have killed in the name of christ? the crusades.....founding america.....etc.
NO MUSLIM CAN BE TRUSTED ANYTIME OR ANYWHERE.................
roro.....typing in caps lock does not make your uneducated statement any more factual than if it were all lowercase.
NO SUCH THING AS A "GOOD MUSLIM.!" WAKE UP! THEY ARE GETTING MORE AND MORE INFILTRATED INTO OUR YOUR, SYSTEM THROUGH OUT OUR AMERICA! YOUR AMERICA! THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE IT THEIR AMERICAN IF WE DO NOT TAKE A STAND NOW. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN OBAMA PLACE HIS HAND OVER HIS HEART WHILE THE AMERICAN ANTHEM IS PLAYED? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN OBAMA PLACE HIS HAND OVER HIS HEART WHEN AN AMERICAN IS RETURNED HOME IN A CASKET AS AMERICA WEEPS? NO BECAUSE HE IS A MUSLIM. HIS FATHER A MUSLIM MAKES HIM A MUSLIM TOO. OBAMA BOWS TO MUSLIM LEADERS ARAB LEADERS APOLOGIZES TO THEM AS HE BOWS. NO OTHER PRESIDENT HAS EVER BOWED TO A MUSLIM LEADER WHEN MEETING WITH THEM. OBAMA GAVE 2 BILLION OF AMERICANS TAX DOLLARS TO THE LIBYAN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD! OBAMA TURNS A BLIND EYE TO OUR ALLIE ISRAEL IN THEIR TIME OF NEED YET HE IS RIGHT THERE FOR EGYPT AS A NEW MUSLIM PRESIDENT IS ELECTED! IF WE AMERICANS AND AMERICAN CHRISTIANS DO NOT WAKE UP AND TAKE A STAND TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS OUR AMERICA OUR CHRISTIAN RIGHTS MUSLIMS WILL TAKE US OVER AND LIKE IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES WE TOO WILL BE GIVEN A CHOICE. TO BECOME MUSLIM OR OUR HEADS WILL BE SEVERED. IN TEXAS ALONE THERE ARE NOW OVER 250 MUSLIM MOSKS! GOD BLESS AMERICANS THAT OUR EYES WILL BE OPENED AND OUR VALUES RETURNED AND THAT WE REGAIN OUR BACK BONE AND A PRESIDENT WHO IS FOR AMERICA AND CHRISTIANITY. IT IS WAKE UP TIME. IT IS TIME TO ARISE AND REGAIN OUR CONTROL. IT IS NOT HAPPENING WITH OBAMA NOR WILL IT EVER.. PRAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY NOW TODAY AND THAT OUR NATION WILL SURVIVE!
" I PLEDGE TO VOTE.ORG "
I salute you, what you said is 100% true, what you have said brought joy to my heart, and I hope people will wake up and save our country.... God bless
Hey caps lock monkey, using all caps does not make your statements true. I for one have seen plenty of pics of Obama with his hand over his heart during the national anthem. Strike one. Because a parent is of a particular religion does not mean the children will be. Strike two. Learn to spell, strike three. MOSKS? Really?
I wish Obama would turn a 3 billion dollar blind eye my way... If astronomical levels of aid aren't an indication of support then I don't know what is. As for the rest of that nonsensical rant, Obama has had a heavy hand when dealing with terrorists and is by no means soft and has not once 'apologized' to any world leader. Keep grasping at straws.
Have you considered that religious hate begets religious hate? Maybe it is your own stupid religion that is attracting the other stupid religion?
You are COMPLETELY UNINFORMED! The amount of money that the United States gives to Israel is in the trillions. Yes, the U.S.A gives more to Israel than to any other country in the world. President Obama is a methodist and if he was a MUSLIM so what. There is no requirement for Presidency that states a person cannot be a MUSLIM! ( You do have to be born in the USA) Get informed today..see the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs!
Only for the new members of this blog:
And now for some 21st century reality:
WHAT INSTIGATED THE ATTACK ON THE TWIN TOWERS, FLIGHT 93 AND THE PENTAGON?
AND WHAT DRIVES TODAY'S 24/7 MOSQUE/IMAM-PLANNED ACTS OF TERROR AND HORROR?
THE KORAN, MOHAMMED'S BOOK OF DEATH FOR ALL INFIDELS AND MUSLIM DOMINATION OF THE WORLD BY ANY MEANS.
MUSLIMS MUST CLEAN UP THIS BOOK REMOVING SAID PASSAGES ADMITTING THAT THEY ARE BASED ON THE GABRIEL MYTH AND THEREFORE OBVIOUSLY THE HALLUCINATIONS AND/OR LIES OF MOHAMMED.
THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE SAFETY AND LOCATION OF MOSQUES AND WHAT IS TAUGHT THEREIN.
UNTIL THEN, NO MUSLIM CAN BE TRUSTED ANYTIME OR ANYWHERE..................................
Israel-Firster alert. The Jonathon Pollard clones who would betray the USA for a dime to Israhell can be spotted from a mile away.
origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.
New Torah For Modern Minds
“Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).
The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."
Reality??? So turning the Qur'an into a work of fiction would solve all your problems? If you can PROVE that a Muslim has lied to you, tell you what:I am reasonably sure you could give examples of your being lied to by Christians, Jews, etc. So have I. But- I have Never had anything misrepresented by a real Muslim. In fact, real Muslims believe more in the Christian- Jewish true ideology than the lot. Whatever psychological problems Irans current Pres has,I think the 'Death to Israel" is really Death to ZIONISM. Meaning, death to the mentality that was posted on the first and second temple,"All non-Jews entering will be put to death." Go put your trust in a 'Jesus freak' or an 'orthodox Jew' and see how long it lasts.
Only for the new members of this blog:-->>>
Putting the kibosh on religion to include Obama's Christianity:
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–
The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths: (Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..)
( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)
Are you ready?
Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.
The First Five of the 77 Branches:
"1. Belief in Allah"
aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.
"2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."
Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".
"3. To believe in the existence of angels."
A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.
"4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."
Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.
Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.
Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.
"5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
be upon him) alone."
Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.
Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!
Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.
The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and all of Europe. That should be relatively simple to answer, of course for a libtard multiculti buffoon probably not.
I'll bet most Muslims would know how to use the "Reply" function.
My name is Urafntool. And I am a tool; a hammerhead, to be exact. No brain matter whatsoever.
Shut up, you big meanie. I have feelings, too, and you're hurting them. I'm a tell my momma on you!!
I hit the reply button. Someone, however, thinks immaturity is funny and attempts to mimic me. That's impossible, however, because nobody on CNN has an IQ as high as me.
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.