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June 21st, 2010
12:23 PM ET

My Take: How a ‘Muslim Woodstock’ turns crisis into opportunity

Iraqi-Canadian rapper The Narcicyst and Syrian American rapper Omar Offendum at Takin’ it to the Streets.

Editor's Note: Maytha Alhassen is a Ph.D. student studing Muslim American identity at the University of Southern California.

By Maytha Alhassen, Special to CNN

Some have facetiously referred to it as the Muslim Woodstock.

But for all the differences between 1969’s three days of peace and music and Saturday’s Takin' it to the Streets festival in Chicago—a daylong Muslim-led arts and music festival—there is some truth to the comparison.

The differences: high on drugs vs. high on dkihr—a prayer that involves reciting the names of God—and free love vs. free tai chi lessons.

The similarity: As Woodstock defined the hippie generation, so might Takin' it to the Streets 2010, organized by the Chicago-based group Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), define a generation of Muslim Americans.

For those in attendance it was clear that spiritually fueled, socially concerned and politically minded art aimed at serving and inspiring will be at the center of defining our Muslim American experience.

The event crystallized what our generation is becoming: one that acts locally and thinks globally through politics, the arts, spirituality, community service and social justice organizing.

The festival, a biannual event for the last 13 years, featured health and wellness booths, hip hop and world music stages, live mural painting stations, and rows of halal food.

It showed that Muslim Americans are tied to both the U.S. and our diapora experience, that we acknowledge our transnational connectedness while working with our local communities.

Examples of our domestic and global action include providing free health care clinics—including IMAN’s in Chicago —protesting Arizona’s immigration bill, as the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations did, and praying for a solution to the Gulf oil spill.

At Takin' it to the Streets, the local/global dynamic saw us rocking out to Malian desert blues group Tinariwen after listening to Reverend Jesse Jackson explain the significance of Marquette Park in the history of the civil rights movement (Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march against an all-white house area there in 1966).

As the transnational aspect of the Muslim American experience was celebrated, we were reminded of our domestic ties and internal Muslim American struggles. Imam Zaid Shakir addressed the oversaturation of Muslim-owned liquor stores in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, meanwhile, shared his thoughts about the significance of the day to Muslim Americans. “What this day says to the Muslim community is that Islam is not just a list of ‘don’ts,’—things you can’t do,” he told me. “It is a way of life that includes joy, happiness, love, fun, appreciation and this is what’s going on. This is the safest place in Chicago right now.”

What message would non-Muslims take from the event? “We are your friends, neighbors and family members,” Ellison said. “There is more to these Muslims than not eating mama’s ham.”

A professor of mine once said that crisis is not necessarily a bad thing—it signals an opportunity.

For me, 9/11 was a crisis that signaled an opportunity. As Muslim Americans were catapulted into the center of a new national discourse on terrorism and forcibly removed from cocoons of invisibility to answer questions of “why” and “who,” we were subjected to pointed fingers and heightened profiling.

And yet there was also an opportunity for us to speak with studied precision and heart.

This year’s Takin' it to the Streets signaled an expressive culmination of the response taken by Muslim Americans to transform crisis into opportunity, to make sense of our multi-faceted identities and to deliver to our local communities the wonderful fruits of our faith in action.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Maytha Alhassen.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Art • Music • Muslim

soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. comments11660

    In response to abu ibrahim: The Israelis have no choice other than to keep the Gazans (Palestinians) in Gaza, the Gazan's like most other Muslims cannot find it in their hearts to live "peaceably" with others, whether Jews, Christians, Hindus or Buddhists, or any other religion. The Gazan Muslims like most other Muslims only understand "brute force" since that is what their religion teaches them, jihad (holy war). They are not kept in a concentration camp. They live in Gaza because they refuse to live peaceably with anyone else. The Israelis are doing all of us a favor by keeping them there!!! Maybe if the Gazan's stopped lollipoping mortar rounds at the Israelis and started constructing a prosperous community for themselves than maybe the rest of us would take them a little more seriously but as long as they continue to try to destroy Israel, which by the way is the most constructive and prosperous country in that region of the Middle East, I don't see how the rest of the world can take the Gazan's seriously.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Heim Progut

    I am so glad you were protesting Arizona’s immigration bill! After all – with our improved intelligence, how will the next Mohamed Atta, Ziad Jarrah, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ramzi Binalshibh get into our country if we actually enforce the immigration laws that already exist!? We must keep our borders loosely watched so your croonies can come blow themselves up in some otherwise happy-go-lucky place! Keep up the good work and for goodness sake, do not eat any bacon... More deliciousness left for the rest of us!

    June 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • justice

      more deliciousness is all kept for you.That's why pork eaters have big bellies,that ham and bacon never digest well.I think I'll pass on the bacon.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • Anonymous Coward

      mmmm..... bacon..... the candy of meat

      June 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  3. The Buddha

    Right on target with that one. Muslims can hold events like these to try and fool America, but we see how they want to live in other countries...and that just doesn't agree with our American way of life. Islam is a slave religion, America is free...the two cannot coexist. I've read the Koran and all it is, is empty nonsensical unspiritual mumbo jumbo telling you to murder non-muslims and fear God. If God loves us why should we fear it? God is a friend, a parent, a lover....not an enemy, you fear enemies, not the ones you love.

    If you need a book to think for yourself and make the right decisions in life your no better than a criminal, and you should kill yourself; there's already too many morons on this planet as it is. The Koran did not come from God, it came from a man's imagination...where most other religions have come from; stop fooling yourselves. A book is a book. If you need answers, look within.

    P.S. Legalize Cannabis, America has no other choice at this point.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Jim Bob

      Well said.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      If "you can see how they WANT to live in other countries," why didn't the muslim immigrants simply stay in those countries? Ever hear of logic?

      June 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  4. justice

    maybe the muslims will go back to their countries once the american and jew theives stop invading and occupying their lands and killing their people.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • The Buddha

      That would be wonderful..I've always felt that America should not go into, and or help other countries. Isolationism all the way, we have the resources, we have the power. We don't need the rest of the world.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
      • Ron

        You are no Buddha my friend.

        June 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • judithjudith

      why do you suggest the American Muslims go? the ones who are of European decent...they have been here for generations...AMERICA IS THEIR COUNTRY.

      June 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  5. Bob Nelson

    Why would you say they would lynch the Jews, when everyday thats happening to innocent Palestinian people and children.
    I converted to Islam and my best friend is Jewish, and still is my best friend.
    You are NO better than Hitler.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  6. that dude

    Nah, why don't you go to the desert and stay there. Make sure you jog during the day so as to sweat to remain cool.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Abd ul-Rahman

    I'm not sure why the association of thuggery and Islam seem to be so prominent at the moment, but just to remind every modernist Muslim out there, Music is Haraam. There's no two ways around it. Your scholars sayings about it not being about music and being about what was affiliated with music then, is not supported by daleel from the Quraan and Sunnah. Stop attempting to create a secular Islam, there's no such thing. Having a political representative at this event is just further confusing the issue. We're not confined to the laws of the kafireen and we shouldn't participate in anything that attempts to undermine the law of God while bombing our brothers and sisters overseas. Take off the blindfold and stop convincing our youth that the steady laws of Islam are flexible.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
    • Abu Ali Hakeem Rahman Durka Durka

      Amen to that brother Abd. Keep the hardline – do not let these western fools with their Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, James Taylor, and John Denver corrupt our future suicide bombers any further. Who do they think they are with their pork barbeque, Beer, Saved by the Bell, the Cosby Show, and Seventh Heaven?

      June 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • Max

      I guarantee you that if we take all the weapons from Muslim Extremist and give it to the Jews this world would be a better place. If we take all the weapons from the Jews and give it to Extremist there will be genocide all over the Earth....guaranteed...

      June 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      You are wrong when you say that music is haram. From the context of the hadiths in question, you can clearly see that only music that leads people into immorality (including hip-hop) is haram. Music in general is not haram, I don't care what the scholars say–read the hadiths and their context, the meaning is clear. Aside from that, music has existed in every ethnic group since the dawn of our species. Try to think for a change, bro.

      June 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      And by the way bro, there is NOTHING in the Qur'an prohibiting music, although you said "from the Qur'an and Sunnah."

      June 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • aMuslim

      This is just a comment for anyone who is an expert on Islam WITHOUT reading Quran and Sunnah, please don't call this event an "Muslim woodstock", as there is no such thing.

      And if my comment didn't help, the Almighty will clear it up in the hereafter!!

      June 21, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  8. that dude

    I love how people think they know it all about other religions and then they spew their ignorance. Islam, Christianity, etc. they are all founded on peace. Evil people are evil people. Next time before you single out muslims just make sure to include christians as well. They are all guilty of the same babble you charge these folks with. Idiot(s).

    June 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
    • Legion

      Try taking a class in religious studies sometimes. By no measure are they based in peace. The 'tolerant' views taught by some groups today are a relatively new addition to the mythology. This include both Christianity and Islam.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • The Buddha

      Have you read the Bible? Are you retarded?

      June 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • joe

      More tahn 60 percent of the Koran is about the punishments you need to inflict on non-Muslims. The other parts involve when you can beat your wife/slave and that you need to go to war for Allah or else you're not a true Muslim. All this was conjured up by a warlord pedophile. Ya... nice start.

      -signed, Atheist Infidel

      June 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  9. Jack W

    Where were the fully armed Predator Drones when we needed them? Could have removed a problem in one strike.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      Well Jack W., you sound like such a big tough man. Just like all those anonymous people on CNN who threaten us Muslims openly with murder and genocide. Well, there are plenty of us here, Jack W. Why don't you put up or shut up? Why wait for the drones? We'll take you on any day. No? I didn't think so.

      June 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  10. abu ibrahim

    yeah, like jewish festivals and public gatherings ever invited Muslims....you act like you are so innocent....why do you have the palestinians in modern form of concentration camp called Gaza? why do you have thousands of palestinians in jail with absolutly no cause/trial...why do you take the land of others, why do you demolish homes, why do you build walls to segregate yourself from others....stop your terrorism.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  11. Tam

    You are ignorant & I bet have never met a Muslim. Turn off the tv for once & read and learn.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  12. TruthIsClear

    to Reality:
    Quran is not book written by a man. Its from God and since last 1400 years has been intact and no word has ever

    changed. The verses that you are talking about have back ground. If you want to understand the Quran, you need to

    read it completely with its detailed explanation of verses that you are doubt. Then you need to ask questions to

    a scholar if you are still in doubt. Hopefully you will have your doubts clear that way. Lot of people get their

    thoughts from media. They say Quran teaches muslims to convert everyone on earth to be a Muslim or just kill

    them. If this was true, why would you still see millions of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Budhits, living

    peacefully, side by side with Muslims in Muslim countries? If this is what Quran meant, they could have easily

    forcefully converted thier non-belivers? heh?

    June 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jack W

      Most non-muslims in muslim countries live in fear and under iron fisted oppression. See Syria, Sudan, Chad, Somolia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Afgahnistan, etc... etc... etc...

      June 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • anti religion

      hey,there TruthisClear......you are really fooled if you think the Quran or the Bible or any other so-called "sacred" book is "written" by God.These books are 100% written by humans...humans who want to control other humans.....plain and simple.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • tony

      This is for TruthIsClear, and all muslims that live the koran and islamic lives. Please do not fool yourselves with quotes from the koran. Firstly that book is outdated. and if u want simple proof of what u believe is wrong, i will give you a million. I have lived in saudi arabia for 33 years. Mecca and Medina are the holiest sites of Islam. Buraidha is the birth place of islam. The muslims of saudi arabia are the worst people on the face of this earth. proof, when one goes to perform hajj, which is one of the five pillars of islam, hajjis will be charged SR5.00 for a cup of tea, which is sold for SR1.00 in the whole of saudi arabia. This is what saudis do to all people coming to perform hajj. They rob them. In fact muslims in saudi arabia, rob all other muslims and foreigners. This is islam for you. Robbing/robbers. Proof, the crime rate is very high in saudi, inspite of the strick laws of shariar, where heads roll, hands cut, and people stoned to death, this will inform all my naive muslims, who are trying to fool others, that islam is not merciful, but revengeful. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, this is islam and muslims. Proof : muslims can live among people of other faiths, but muslims cannot live among muslims. Proof in all islamic countries, you will find robbing, cheating, killings, rapings, murder, war, etc, all this in the name of islam. To cut a long story short, you muslims that are living in USA, and enjoy all the benefits of a democratic life, go back to saudi arabia and live there. You should be happy as it is the birth place of islam, and should give you great peace of mind. If you cannot do that, then please stop your bull sh...t about peace, harmony, etc, etc. Shakespear said, 'islam is the best religion and muslims are the worst'; bbc said 'a good muslim is a dead muslim'. 'all muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims'. The final proof : if you are truly believe in islam, and believe in Allah, and Mohamad, then u should be able to accept the jews like mohamad accepted the jews. Hating them as you do, and hating all other human beings means and goes to show that you muslims are bunch of hypocrites. Lastly you are writing your views at this site, USA is a land of liberty and freedom, why do u hide behind pseudonym. Use your real name, but u r ashamed of your islamic name and heritage. You muslim coward.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • Reality

      TruthisClear,

      Unfortunately, the moderators removed my comments about Muslim males being directed by the koran to dominate the world by any means. They, however, did not delete the rebuttal to my comments. Strange moderators are they!!

      With respect to all male Muslims out there who have failed to read their koran:

      Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa.

      By the way, the spread of Islam by the sword was fortunately stopped many centuries ago. The profits from oil has allowed a resurrence in the koran's directives.

      June 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • IM Doc

      This is for Jack W.....Hey jack i have a question for you? Have you ever been to Syria before? Or for that matter any middle eastern country?? The reason why i ask is because it seems as if you haven't been there and are blindly making false statements. You stated that "Most non-muslims in muslim countries live in fear and under iron fisted oppression. See Syria, Sudan, Chad, Somolia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Afgahnistan, etc... etc... etc..." Now first of all, I've only been to Syria and Lebanon, so I can't make assumptions (like you Jack) about the rest of the countries because i haven't been there myself. But, what i can tell you is that muslims and non-muslims do live side by side with peace and respect in Syria and Lebanon. I'm originally from syria, where the population is roughly around 20 million. Did you know that there are roughly 4 million christians living in syria? And you know what? Both religions get along rather really well. Do me a favor jack....instead of coming up with some false assumptions...buy yourself a ticket to damascus or beirut. I'm willingly to bet that you'll be amazed of how little you know.

      June 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • joeb

      No such thing, you're high. How about the 500,000 Assyrian christians in Iraq who were supressed by Saddam Hussein and all the Christians that were killed by Mohammed during his 'crusades' (which they were). It's so common for Muslim retards to dog the Christians about their crusades, but Mohammed killed just as many people during his. Islam will never take over the world because Muslims kill themselves off just as fast as they're born. Plus, every Muslim I know just does it for attention. I'd be surprised if there is 1 Muslim for every 15 christians in this country that actaully goes goes to Mosque and believes what he's told. And finally, when Muslims do immigrate here, they're so impressed by the quality of life, education, and ridiculous number of scholarships to foreign people that they wouldnt even dare consider blowing themselves. So who's really winning? The Imams sitting there twiddling their beards, or the Americans who destroy your phoney religion with secular bliss. Looks like you lose...again

      June 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      Muslims did not spread Islam by the sword (very old lie), and we didn't need to. As the Qur'an says, there is no compulsion in religion, for truth is henceforth distinct from error. People keep converting to Islam in droves because, unlike atheism or Christianity, it actually makes sense. I am a male muslim, I have read the Qur'an (not just excerpts that David Horovitz told me to read), and I have never found anything in it that tells me, personally, to dominate the world. But the MESSAGE and RELIGION of Islam will come to dominate the world, peacefully, because it makes sense. The early Muslims never required anyone to accept Islam; they did so of their own free will, and many millions did so. Think of Indonesia: today, the world's largest Muslim-majority country–there were never any swords brandished there by Muslims, let alone forced conversions, as they ignorant ones (whose scholarship is outdated by decades) imply.

      June 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • TruthIsNOTClear

      TruthIsClear,

      I know for a fact that this is not true. My family and I are Hindus in Bangladesh, a country with a high Muslim majority. Everyday, Hindus are killed just for the very fact that they are Hindu. Hindus are discriminated against from getting jobs, getting into good colleges, and even claiming ownership of their own rightful land. My cousin was killed 9 years ago at his medical school just because he was Hindu. Does this seem peaceful to you? Maybe Muslims were more tolerant during the Ottoman Empire, but this certainly is not the case now.

      June 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
    • nima

      hey they made a cartoon series about how religion is interpreted its called south park watch the episode on joseph smith.

      June 21, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • Sharjeel

      Islamic teachings and values are not just for Muslims, anyone can adapt them and be successful. Many laws, ethics, systems, and values in place in the West, especially United States, is what Islam tought 1400 years ago. Unfortunately through time so called Muslims gradually left those values and teachings and hence the result is clear. Don't see the Islamic teachings in the Muslims countries of today. Just read life of Prophet (PBUH) from original sources (not the biased) and read Qur'an itself completely, that remained unchanged for 1400 years (not just extracts from it), and read Islamic history, and decide yourself. Just seeing many Muslims and reading media today would give you totally oppositve picture of what exactly Islam is. Just type 'converted Muslims' on youtube and listen the experiences of those who actually read and experienced true Islam and accepted it with open hearts and pious emotions.

      June 21, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  13. Legion

    Couldn't agree more.

    And hip hop really?

    June 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  14. israeli paratrooper

    I have read the Koran myself (I DO read arabic, Im from the middle east) and it DOES say that.

    June 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • abu ibrahim

      you are no scholar and no theologan so do not try to act like some smart person. you might know arabic because its part of your job as a soldier but dont act like you know how to intepret religious text you idiot. just stop your own terrorism and spread of hate and fear against innocent people.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
      • justice

        couldn't have said it better.He must be a soldier.

        June 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • Kris

      The bible also says, an Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth...where does the cycle of violence end? The old testament is FULL of violence...

      It works both ways...Your hatred is as evident as anyone else's. Hatred breeds hatred...period. And trust me, I am not taking sides here...I'm just sayin' practice what you preach IP... You don't do your side any good either by spouting such venom.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Israeli paratrooper,

      Unfortunately, the moderators removed my comments about Muslim males being directed by the koran to dominate the world by any means. They, however, did not delete the rebuttal to my comments. Strange moderators are they!!

      With respect to all male Muslims out there who have failed to read their koran:

      Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa.

      June 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Johnq

      If the text needs to be "interpreted", or prechewed for you, then perhaps there is something wrong with it.

      June 21, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  15. indigo

    Do you ever discuss the horrific results of terrorist activity by Islamic extremists and how to stop it? Do you ever speak out against it? I ask because words of condemnation are seldom heard.

    June 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  16. israeli paratrooper

    and you will also see,,,, this will lead to them actually using our democracy here in the USA agains US. dont be numbed by their "american patriotism" comments. actions speak louder than words. what muslims have done in here (blood and terror) compared what jewish and israeli have done to america (build and help democracy)

    June 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
    • Justice

      you keep saying "we" and "our" when you're talking about America but your name says "Israeli paratrooper". last I checked Israel and America are 2 different countries. if you really loved America your name should be U.S Paratrooper instead. I don't know why the US allows its citizen to serve in certain foreign armies. we know where your loyalty is.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • Linda

      Why does this have to become a Palestinian vs. Israeli issue? This was put together by American Muslims, many of whom, I'm sure, were born here, just like my sons and me. My Greek and German ancestors also helped to build this country. My father went to Korea. I chose Islam for my life but that does not make me less of an American. Please learn to think beyond the stereotypes. You will be much wiser for it.

      June 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  17. RealityorNot

    @Reality where did you get this from? Did you actually read Koran and see it?

    June 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • Reality

      RealityorNot,

      Unfortunately, the moderators removed my comments about Muslim males being directed by the koran to dominate the world by any means. They, however, did not delete the rebuttal to my comments. Strange moderators are they!!

      With respect to all male Muslims out there who have failed to read their koran:

      Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa.

      June 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • Reality Bites

      @Reality...

      Have we forgotten how the Christian Crusades were started. Too many knights and no wars to fight, so let's send them off to the Middle East because we're sick of them killing our own people. By the way, we will tell them it is for god. Should we also mention the forced schooling of Native Americans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries with Christian schools? At these schools children were beaten for not speaking English or praying to something other than Jesus. I think you have missed the old Christian saying, "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."

      June 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Acaraho

      Regarding how Native Americans were treated at Christian boarding schools, they were taken from their families, forced to renounce their names and were given Christian names, and made to cut their hair and give up their traditional clothing. That equated to a systematic rape of a people's culture. I think that is a part of the definition of genocide.

      June 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
    • Reality

      Realiyt Bites,

      So the ill-conceived crusades and forced education of South and North American Indians give credence to today's Islamic terrorist activities? So history teaches you nothing?

      June 23, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  18. FQ

    I would really love to see this "reality" in the Quran or is this something in your demented head??

    June 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Unfortunately, the moderators removed my comments about Muslim males being directed by the koran to dominate the world by any means. They, however, did not delete the rebuttal to my comments. Strange moderators are they!!

      With respect to all male Muslims out there who have failed to read their koran:

      Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa.

      June 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • omdusa

      All religions seek to dominate the world. This is how religions spread. Christians have been doing it with missionaries for centuries. What matters is the way in which you try to convert people: oppression vs persuasion.

      June 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • Edwin

      Reality: it is pretty clear that Christians are also instructed to dominate the world, through proselytizing and conversion (although force has been used in the past).

      Most successful religions have a tenet requiring that the 'word' be spread to all who can hear it, so they may become believers.

      June 21, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • Reality

      Edwin,

      After thorough reviews by many contemporary historic Jesus exegetes, the passage commanding the apostles to go out and teach all nations (Matt 28: 16-20) was judged to be not historic but simply more embellishment by the writers of the NT. e.g.

      Matt 28:16-20 The description of Jesus's appearance is minimal, as attention is focused on the content of Jesus' message to the Eleven. Luedemann notes that "the historical yield is extremely meager." He accepts the early tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of "a community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries." [Jesus, 255f.]

      June 23, 2010 at 12:09 am |
  19. LB

    Wish I could've been there!

    June 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  20. akeo

    I was lucky to be a part of Takin' it to the Streets on Saturday evening, and having lived in Chicago for 15 years and involved on the west side with community building projects – I was amazed by the community created through this festival. The intention was so crystal clear – it was an uplifting, empowering and positive experience, I left feeling connected to humanity as a whole. The diversity of the musical performances was part of this, but what struck me that set this festival apart from any other was the inclusion of health resources and opportunities for dialogue, and linking that to the bigger message of unity. Chicago is a city of incredible access to music and the arts, but if all our festivals were infused with an intention of creating unity, like this one is, we could move forward in rebuilding our communities by leaps and bounds.

    June 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • doug

      I'm sorry I missed it too. Sounded good. I'm really sorry to read all of the Muslim hate on this site. If anyone is interested in doing a little reading, it seems to me that the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia was initiated by conservative Christians with the intent of eliminating all Muslims. I am Christian, have never been to Syria, Jordan or any country in the Middle East, but I have several life-long Muslim friends and I'm hard pressed to believe that they would want to kill me or anyone else. Books get written and are left unchanged for centuries and I don't believe everyone who subscribes to a particular religion agrees with everythiing that is written in their 'good book'. A little tolerance for good people by good people would be appreciated.

      June 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
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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.