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.
Looks like the Imam's fine words have fallen on deaf ears judging by what I will charitably call the "comments" here.
What he says goes for a lot of us, not just his group.
not really. there are hundreds of readers and not all of them are bloggers.
You KNOW CNN is monitoring this closely... hopefully, no one will say anything against muhammed or alah or whatever. Death threats would be all over the place.
So... everyone needs to be very careful here. If it was a plea for Christians to step it up, well then you can slam them all you want.
There are tens of millions of Americans who are homeless or are facing foreclosures or who have lost their jobs,, there are tens of millions of American children living on food stamps, there are tens of thousands of schools, highways, bridges et al that need to be repaired in the US, and Israel-Firsters keep on demanding that WE, The American Taxpayer, continue to pay this parasitic leeching welfare state called IsraHell while needy Americans are desperate as this web site shows:
And now these Israel-Firster politicians like Paul Ryan are going to force ordinary Americans to pay more money for gas with their stupid focus on fighting wars against other countries for IsraHell’s benefit!!!!
These AIPAC politicians from both the Republican and Democratic Parties are ready to sell out the USA for their "PRECIOUS" Israel (said like Golem in the Lord of The Rings)!!!!
Like most most American politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties who have simply become slaves of the American Israel Public Affairs Committtee (AIPAC), these so-called USA politicians have their tongues slavishly buried so far up where the sun doesn't shine in the backside of AIPAC that they won't say squat about why IsraHell (who Israel-Firsters constantly claim is so economically great and advanced and such a success and blah blah blah....), continues to feed off the trough of America like some sort of leech for fifty plus years to a cost amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars ($5 billion plus per year), and still counting!!!.
After all, if IsraHell is as successful as Israel-Firsters claim that it is, then it is only reasonable to expect that it will be able to stand on its own instead of coming cap in hand like a street corner hobo demanding never-ending charity from WE THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS without any end in sight. Over the last fifty years, IsraHell has received billions of dollars annually to an amount in the hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars!!
After all, if countries of comparable size to IsraHell like Sweden and Norway are all making it on their own without needing or asking for American aid then so should that parasitic leech of a state..
Logically, the tax dollars of hard-working Americans should be reserved for truly needy Americans or perhaps third world countries like Ethiopia, Angola, and so on and not a so-called successful nation like Israel is (as Israel-Firsters constantly claim Israel is!!!!).
Ohhhh well, I guess Israel-Fisrters from AIPAC like mitt the Twit Rob-Me and Paul the Lyin' Ryan have so well corrupted America's body politic that Americans have only started to notice how Israel-Firster politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties have betrayed America and its values to such an extent that their tongues have turned blue like IsraeHell’s flag….it looks like these politicians’ actual allegiance is to Israel and not to America!!!
Political godheads and christian godheads and science godheads and many otherly godheads just don't understand their bodies!
If Americans new the real details as to how,the Libyan ambassador was killed they may not feel to benevolent towards muslims.It is a mystery to me as to why main stream news outlets in the US have not told the entire story.
Yea, and what is the real deal Mr. Know it All?
Referring to how Israhell murdered 34 Americans on USS Liberty and injured hundreds more including strafing survivors in life rafts:
Major General John Morrison, US Air Force, Deputy Chief NSA Operations during the attack and later Chief of NSA Operations as reported in Body of Secrets by James Bamford, p233.: "....did not buy the Israeli ‘mistake' explanations either. Nobody believes that explanation." When informed by author Bamford of gruesome war crime (killing of large numbers of POWs) at nearby El Arish, Morrison saw the connection. "That would be enough," he said. "They wouldn't want us in on that. You've got the motive. What a hell of a thing to do….”
Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, USN, Director National Security Agency 1977-1981, reported in Proceedings, June, 2003: Inman said he "flatly rejected" the Cristol thesis that the attack was an accident. "It is just exceedingly difficult to believe that [USS Liberty] was not correctly identified" based on his talks with NSA seniors at the time having direct knowledge of intercepted communications. No NSA official could be found who dissented from the "deliberate" conclusion.
Oliver Kirby, former deputy director for operations/production, National Security Agency. Kirby participated in NSA's investigation of the attack and reviewed translations of intercepted communications between pilots and their headquarters which he reports show conclusively that they knew their target was an American ship. Kirby is considered the "Godfather" of the USS Liberty and USS Pueblo intercept programs. (Telephone interviews with James Ennes and David Walsh for Friendless Fire, Proceedings, June 2003):
"I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that they knew theywere attacking an American ship”.
Handwritten note of August 26, 1967, by NSA Deputy Director Louis W. Tordella reacting to the Israeli court decision exonerating Israelis of all blame for the Liberty attack: "A nice whitewash for a group of ignorant, stupid and inept [expletive deleted]."
Secretary of State Dean Rusk: " . . . an act of military recklessness reflecting wanton disregard for human life."
Then Secretary of State Dean Rusk in a 10 June 1967 diplomatic note to the Israeli Ambassador:
"But I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous."
Rusk, “As I Saw It” W.W.Norton, 1990. p 388
hinduism, disappointment for a hindu, ignorant
Wow. The cooments on here are ridiculous. I think this article was very interesting and gave great insight in to the Muslim community. I find it was very true. I grew up in a Muslim household. My family says not to get involved in politics. They don't vote. They don't think there's a point. They feel that it's choosing the best of the two evils. I'm agnostic and started getting involved late in life. I feel that too many people died for me to have the right to vote.
when you vote, do you cast your vote based on, if the candidate is right for your faith, or if the candidate is right for the country you live in?
Um, I'm agnostic. I have no faith. I vote strictly on the issues and who is best for my family.
People die Sacmar. People alway die. No point to make it an issue of political 'practifications'.
How do you end up being an agnostic?
Make sure you vote for the best candidate PERIOD. That is the only reason to vote for anybody.
Well, Mohammad, I grew up in a religious hosehold, but my mom converted from Christianity. She encouraged us to explore different religions and different cultures. I found I had too many questions that no one could answer. They just kept giving me scriptures to read and I needed more. I haven't found it.
Both of them are hindu, denier of truth absolute GOD, foundation of America, not worthy of my vote. My vote is for RON PAUL, follwer of truth absolute GOD.
Samar at least you freed yourself from the ignorance of Islam.
Hey Eliminate, no one cares about your political or religious views, get lost.
Brad, YOU sound like the ignorant one. If you knew true Islam, you wouldn't say such things. I grew up knowing and it wasn't that much different from other organized religions. Just because there are some whackjobs who happen to be Muslim, doesn't mean ALL Muslims are whackjobs. That goes for any religion. The KKK consider themselves Christians. Does that mean ALL White Christians are members of the KKK? No, it doesn't.
I suppose this article is encouraging on some level. What Muslims really need to do is to drop the pretense that Mohammed is the perfect example for mankind, and reject the violence and misogyny that dominate the Koran. Time to mature as a people and leave the 7th Century behind.
hinduism absurdity of a hindu, ignorant, visit limitisthetruth.com to learn truth about your hinduism, illegality by faith.
it's easier said than done.
Muslims do not oppress women, and do not live in some 7th century backwards fantasy. You need to be more informed, or not comment on things you have no knowledge of.
As usual for religion, it would be to the extent that such Muslims did not agree with God and did not follow their faith that they would be civilized and decent people. That's why we should cut through the BS, abandon religion and establish a secular society that doesn't follow any barbaric desert mythology.
Countries, throughout the ages were born by trials and torn apart by errors. This Age is yet to be torn completely apart and yet, the trials are mounting as logs being tossed upon the fires. Soon my friends, soon I will once again be among you and we will laugh and dream big our ways to be coursed! We will walk the unmarked trails. We will cross the uncrossable rivers. We will sail the unsailable seas. My Time among these godheads grows short and I grow weak and old. Soon will my brothers and I be as one!
Be one in truth absolute and be brothers in life in following of truth absolute God, it will be heaven in this life and hereafter.
Muslims do need to step up and start speaking out for the rights of others. It's not just about voting. Be represented by your actions.
They are doing that in Europe, and Europe has become a pile of SH-it ever since, pardon my English. I dont care about all this all-men-are-equal talk. First of all if this were so, the moslems should stop to oppress women. Second, I simply don't want a bunch of moslems to tell me how to run the country I'm living in. I see what they did to Europe and it scares me. It's time for Americans to stand up and say enough is enough and this is not a country for moslem coulture. You want to live here? Fine learn the language, keep your religion to yourself and ADAPT to our way, don't try to force us to adapt to you.
Worry about you own mama, hindu, she was having a abortion of a baby girl after sleeping with her brother in following of hindu racist man god ram.
Force-filled words Fritz, forcefull they are. The more 'godheads', the less sheep to sheer.
Hey eliminate hindu – Are you revealing your deppest desires again on the internet? You trying to get it all out of your system so you can heal? It is hard to read about your desires to sleep with your brother and come on, your mom?? Don't be so hard on your mom. She tried to rasie you as the son of satan but you've got issues.
A hindu, child of incest deserves nothing better than, what he got in my post, truth absolute about hinduism, racism by faith.
America's decline can be summed up in my phrase "Based on socialism for the rich (read endless government cash bail outs and tax write-offs given to the rich including both corporations and rich Americans), and capitalism for the poor (not even healthcare available so sell your home, use up all the cash, and go die because you cannot afford further treatment or medical care)!!!!
Notwithstanding what Israel-Firster Mitt the Twit Rob-Me and Paul the Lyin Ryan says, IsraHell shares none of the USA 's values notwithstanding comments from Israel-Firsters. Readers should look up/google the official web site of the American survivors of Israel 's unprovoked attack on the USS Liberty in international waters where Israhell murdered thirty-four Americans and injured hundreds more including even strafing survivors in life rafts in the water!
Like I said, Israel shares none of the good ole US of A's values – when was the last time that America leeched billions of dollars in aid from another country like Israhell constantly leeches off the USA. Americans work hard to make better lives and defend themselves. America does not keep on leeching at the tax dollars of other hard working people for perpeptuity year after year after and counting now into the decades as Israel has leeched off the USA in an amount in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Yeah living is easy when it is at the expense of others. Oh well, America roads will continue to decay, schools will lack supplies, American children in their millions will live off food stamps and Israel-Firsters will keep on yammering about how Israel supposedly shares our values when the only thing that it shares, NO, takes, is the hard working tax dollars of Americans!!!
I stand with the tax dollars of hard working Americans being used in America to repair roads, bridges and highways!
I stand with the tax dollars of hard working Americans being used in America to pay for better schools for American children!
I stand with the tax dollars of hard working Americans being used in America to help create good decent high paying jobs for unemployed Americans!
I stand with the tax dollars of hard working Americans being used in America to pay for improving lives of ordinary Americans via better libraries, social and municipal services!
I stand with the tax dollars of hard working Americans being used in America being used to help Americans get off of food stamps!
I stand with the tax dollars of hard working Americans being used in America being used to energize American factories like autombile plants!
I stand with the tax dollars of hard working Americans being used in America being used to assist home-owners in renewing their mortgages and keeping their homes from being foreclosed!
I do NOT stand with Israel-Firsters in giving up the tax dollars of needy hard working Americans to Israel for year after year after year in amounts in the hundreds of billions of dollars.while Israel-Firsters keep on yammering about some ridculous shared values.
The USA has shared values with countries like Sweden , Norway et al who are similiar in size to Israel but who do not coming begging year after after year like a Hobo with cap in hand like Israel does.
Countries such as Norway, Sweden et al truly share the values of Americans including living off their own hard work, not demanding money from others with no end in sight, and basically succeeding without largesse from others and then falsely claiming how successful they are as Israel does all the while it leeches the tax dollars of hard working Americans!!!
Hey Fritz, how is your buddy, Jonathon Pollard? Is it true that your other buddy BeenYammerin' NuttyYahoo visited him in jail......come on now bubba, say it ain't so, Yogi Berra! Israel-Firsters kin run but they cain't hide heh,heh,heh.....
You may have missed that this article is about American Muslims, not Israel. Can't bear to bring your hatred into an unrelated thread, I guess. I do agree with your closing, though.
muslims stepup to what, even though Obama is a muslim, they don't like him any more than republicans, somebody is coo, coo.
the arab community is all about oil & gas, obama has openly tried to ruin this industry, why would the Arab community support him on this.
Ok, ever heard of "Reverend White" ? You know the guy McCain painted as the white hating black panther child eater? Well that was Obama's pastor for years. I don't care what you might have against Obama politically, but try not to be stupid. Obama is NOT a moslem and he was NOT born in Kenya. Whatever happened to the intelligent people in the Republican party? Did they go on that helicopter together with Nixon? You can disagree and debate, but don't stick to stupid stuff that has been proved false, like Obama is a moslem or the world was created in 6 days.
Fritz: your comment is so dumb that it is not a comment.
Well, from what we see Meki60 is indeed coo coo.
Israel-Firsters like Stanley always try to make what is in in the interest of Israhell, namely, a war against Iran, an American interest, and it is not. Israhell is no friend of America but a parasitic leech sucking off the teat of We The American Taxpayers. My son, Jason said he did not sign up with the Marines to go and fight for Israhell and said that he and many other Marines will actually publicly resign their omissions if ordered into an immoral war against Iran for the benefit of Israhell and NuttyYahoo, and I personally am encouraging him to encourage others in our armed forces to do so also. It's time to out the Israel-Firsters and bring them kicking and screaming into the light of day....
Lance, I understand your position. I am an American and Jewish. America comes first and I don't think America should be pulled into war on a whim. Although I do have to say What Mideast Country would have our back? Which one is a democracy? Which one allows all of its people to vote?
Hitler 'had Jewish and African roots', DNA tests show
Adolf Hitler is likely to have had Jewish and African roots, DNA tests have shown.
Saliva samples taken from 39 relatives of the Nazi leader show he may have had biological links to the “subhuman” races that he tried to exterminate during the Holocaust.
Jean-Paul Mulders, a Belgian journalist, and Marc Vermeeren, a historian, tracked down the Fuhrer’s relatives, including an Austrian farmer who was his cousin, earlier this year.
A chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1 which showed up in their samples is rare in Western Europe and is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.
"One can from this postulate that Hitler was related to people whom he despised," Mr Mulders wrote in the Belgian magazine, Knack.
Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of Ashkenazi and 8.6 per cent to 30 per cent of Sephardic Y-chromosomes, appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population.
Knack, which published the findings, says the DNA was tested under stringent laboratory conditions.
"This is a surprising result," said Ronny Decorte, a genetic specialist at the Catholic University of Leuven.
"The affair is fascinating if one compares it with the conception of the world of the Nazis, in which race and blood was central.
“Hitler's concern over his descent was not unjustified. He was apparently not "pure" or ‘Ayran’.”
It is not the first time that historians have suggested Hitler had Jewish ancestry.
His father, Alois, is thought to have been the illegitimate offspring of a maid called Maria Schickelgruber and a 19-year-old Jewish man called Frankenberger.
Hitler was a hindu racist of Egyptian origin, just like his blood brothers Jews, self centered, deniers of truth absolute GOD. hell with both of them, both of them should have been eliminated with their hinduism, racism.
Ummmm, did you read the article?... You are so off-topic it's crazy!
Ok where in the hell do you get 39 living relatives of Hitler from? There are only a handful of them living in America now and they keep undercover and nobody can trace them down. Can you give the names of those people you mention or give a source for that study?
And besides, we all have African ancestry because all of our ancestors came from Africa about 70,000 years ago.
Ohhhhh Israel-Firsters Friz, you can pretend ignorance or dig up the information for yourself as I don't cater to parasitic information leeching from AIPAC Al's. I will simply present the information and let people discover for themselves what the truth is by googling it for themselves or not. Israhell–Firsters may wanna leech tax dollars off of the American taxpayers but hey will have to do heir own work for themselves!
Nobody has Hiltler's DNA! You are an idiot and liar. Evil is Evil. Even if he had Jewish ancestry that would just mean that the Germans were evil too. What the hell are you people even thinking?
Hey Joe, you may want to let Israel-Firsters put some sort of Holocaust guilt trip on you but Americans don't need this cudgeled over our heads as we did not have anything to do with the Holocaust and this Holocaust industry is used to perpetually leech our tax dollars. It is sad that the Holocaust happened and we should be sad for the victims but let's not forget that Jewish people and tens of millions of other people were slaughtered by a person with Jewish heritage and neither I or other people will remain silent about that any longer but will bring this information out to be shared notwithstanding efforts of Israel-Firsters trying to put a guilt trip on Americans.
it never amazes me the amount of prejudice you americans have against muslims. after all they provide the energy that moves your fat bodies to the supermarket.
Not all American's, but hindu gentile terrorist slave Christians, of hindu Jew's, terrorist self centered, preachers of hindu pig ism, filthy secularism.
Why don't you take that towel off your head and ride your camel on back home
When ever you are ready my hindu, ignorant camel.
To bad they found that false prophet mohammed's bones and Christ ascended into heaven. Maybe you should look under your camel for mohammed.
No one found any bones, but in your hindu darkened mind, get off of hem, cannabis of hindu sanatan, filthy goon to post like a sane person.
Were you abandoned as a child and raised by some desert animal? It is okay, you can appear on Dr. Phill and get it all worked out.
-Or American dollars that moved them out of tent cities.
Ya, hindu's ignorant s from hindered gutter of hinduism illegality called india, from tents into toilet and roof less houses.
Muslims, including Obama need to step down, they don't feather well in our society.
So say Israel-Firsters who want to perpetually leech tax dollars off hard working Americans for parasitic Israhell which cannot stand on its two despite fifty years of living off our monies....
You're a moron. President Obama attends a Christian church. Most likely that same denomination that you do. Idiots like you should be taken out back and shot for being just that, idiots who pollute the gene pool. Get educated!
And I didn't even, nor will I be voting for President Obama.
Obama goes to church about 5 times a year to put on a SHOW that he is a Christian, he isnt fooling anyone!
You three guys belong in circus. Michael vote for Mutt Romney, Are you part of the 47% he called a moocher. Frank, you wouldn't know a Christian even if he fell on your head. Lance the anti-Semite, Has a nice ring to it.
in fact, it will only make it worse...
Remember the USS Liberty and time to take back America.....the stench of Israel-Firsters and the United Rabbinate of America is becoming stronger and stronger as AIPAC and Israel-Firsters make America and Americans their lapdogs!
Mitt the Twit Rob-Me and Paul the Lyin Ryan Ryan are both Israel-Firsters who would sell out the the USA for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and out source the job of the President of the United States of America to Israhell and its leader BeenYammerin' Nutty-Yahoo. Thanks to these traitorous Israel-Firsters and other Republican and also Democratic politicians, they have made the US Congress Israhelli occupied territory as Pat Buchanan said.
Rabbis and their Israel-Firster buddies have made American politicians their lapdogs.
The USA has become a Rabbinate against the wishes of the American people and Israel-Firsters try to make Americans think that the mullahs are taking over the USA when AIPAC already has!
Captain William McGonagle, Captain, USS Liberty. After more than two hours of unremitting assault, the Israelis finally halted their attack. One of the torpedo boats approached the Liberty. This same torpedo boat crew had been circling the ship, machine-gunning anyone who stuck his head above decks, as well as the lifeboats the crew had put over the side.What had changed? The Israeli government knew that US aircraft carriers had just launched aircraft to come to Liberty ’s aid and the attack was quickly called off. The Israeli government called the US Embassy and said that they had made a "mistake."A torpedo boat officer asked in English over a bullhorn: "Do you need any help?"The wounded commander of the Liberty , Captain William McGonagle, instructed the quartermaster to respond emphatically: "f-you."
Oh how people either forget, look the other way in ignorance or just tolerate this "relationship" we have with the Jewish Nation of Israel. It's far past time to cut the leash and let these folks fight over their piece of crap desert.
Yep – this is what America ia all about.
their idea of politically engagement is to compete with Jewish groups on American Middle East policies.
Not compete, but eliminate hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secularism, rot of American const itution.
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.