April 20th, 2013
10:57 AM ET

My Take: Don't lump evildoers with Muslims

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

By Khalid Latif, Special to CNN

(CNN) - April 19, 2013, marks the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings, a terrorist attack that took the lives of 168 people and injured another 680. In the wake of the tragic events that took place in Boston this week, we should remind ourselves that the actions of a few deranged individuals don’t represent or reflect the communities that they more broadly come from. Timothy McVeigh, the Tsarnaev brothers and the likes of Adam Lanza, Wade Michael Page and Nidal Hasan are a group unto themselves, and we should not let their utter disregard for humanity affect our embrace of it.

This morning I woke up to messages from three different Jewish friends, a current undergrad at NYU, an NYU alum and a rabbi from the Bronx. Their respective messages, though short and simple, represented to me the kind of approach we all should be taking at this time.

"I will walk with anyone who feels unsafe, anywhere they need to go."

"(As) a past member of the NYU community, and as a Jew, I want to wish you, your loved ones and your community safety and health. May G-d bless us all that there is no backlash against the Muslim or any other community over the currently transpiring events. Hatzlacha and Bracha to all of you."

"If you find out any way we can be helpful please let me know."

This is what America is about. The courage of these words resonated deeply within me, especially in response to the cowardice of those who seek to divide us through their hateful acts of violence. Our coming together is our strongest asset in the face of this hate. We should not let terrorists divide us.

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My hope is that no one in Boston is left intimidated by this attack. We should do what we can to alleviate the fear that results from these acts of senseless violence.

It was beautiful to see the response from people - diverse in their race, ethnicity and religion - as they came together to help the people of Boston. My further hope is that we continue to stand together throughout this ordeal and not turn against one another. Our strength lies in embracing our diversity, and just as we are united in our anger and our grief, so, too, should we be united in our resolve.

Leaders of all backgrounds should step forward to condemn any act of bigotry and take full responsibility to ensure that no one further gets hurt due to a backlash from the attacks in Boston.

Racism, xenophobia and anti-religious hatred of any kind goes against the core values of equality and freedom that our country is founded upon, regardless of who is carrying it out or who it is being carried out against.

It is not OK to target innocent people just because they are Muslim. Since Monday, there have already been two hate crimes reported, one targeting an Arab, female doctor in Boston and a second targeting a Bengali man in the Bronx. How is it OK to inflict violence and hate toward individuals simply because of the way they look or their religious affiliation? And even if we are not perpetrating it, how is it OK for us to sit by and let it happen?

Simply put, it's not. We must be better than that.

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My continued thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston, those who we lost, those who were injured, their loved ones, the courageous first responders and the law enforcement that has spent the last week finding those who carried out these heinous acts.

May people once again come from all over to run Boston's streets, and may we not let those who lack compassion triumph.

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam

soundoff (985 Responses)
  1. lol??

    I'd rather y'all just keep calling Christians bigots. They've had more experience dealing with it. Why stir up the Muslims? Every time ya go around the wagon wheel, like fighter pilots, the circle gets smaller.

    April 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Jen L

      Not all Christians are bigots just like not all Muslims are terrorists. In fact, the bigots and terrorists are a small percentage but they have such big mouths that sometimes it's hard to tell.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  2. DC

    Muslims want you to think they are your friend until they are in power. Just look at the Muslim countries and the lack of freedoms in them, and how they have a lack of tolerance for other faiths. Are the Taliban not Muslim, Iran, Iraq, Egypt. Muslims only want freedom of religion until they have a ruling majority, then they will make you do things their way by making it law and using religious police. Imam Khalid Latif I just gotta ask, what are you smoking.

    April 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar

      Opium from Afghanistan.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  3. Islam is like bed bugs

    call Roscoe

    April 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  4. kristofer

    Dear Imam, Its time to change the Koran. If you still think the Koran teaches peace and purity you are deluded. Go read the Koran with a clear mind and try to actually understand it. Its just a book. Not God's words or Mohammad's words. Instead of accepting basic fundamental flaws in your religion you are trying to rationalise violence by citing Oklahoma bombings and other unrelated events.

    April 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  5. Andrew

    Lets be honest here, if you look at history, all organized religion has blood on its hands. And for Christains or any other religious group to suggest that their religion is less violent than any other is ignorant.

    April 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar

      All religions are less bloody than secularists that saction infanticide through abortions.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar


      April 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  6. obsthetimes

    Educated muslims always shame us into compassion but never criticize their religion. Fact it its not a 'few deranged' individuals. Why is almost every terrorist a sunni muslim ?

    April 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • root cause of terrorism - Wahhabiism

      You nailed it.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • peridot2

      They're the uneducated violent Fundamentalists?

      April 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar

      I once knew a violin instrumentalist.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  7. Eat pork and drink beer Mr. Imam

    Islam will NEVER be welcomed anywhere in the west...

    April 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  8. Yaso

    Muslims always persecute non-Muslim minorities in their Islamic nations.... And in Europe they try to take over the nation and tries to convert as many people into their CULT

    April 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  9. NJ

    Muslims are animals if not worse... They murder and bomb people all the time.

    72 virgins are waiting for them

    April 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • obsthetimes

      72 are for mohd. The average joe on the street gets only 40.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar

      Virgin razorbacks.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  10. mickinmd

    The fact is that a USA Today poll found that 5% of American Muslims believe violence against America is justified. Is there any other group where such a thing is true? And the Muslim religious leaders in other nations like Spain have issued fatwas (official religious condemnations) against al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders and notified the government when they learned of suspected terrorists entering or passing through the country. WHY won't American Muslim leaders, like Imam Latif do so?

    April 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I would state that Americans are the highest % group who believe violence against Americans is justified. Look at the crime rate and shooting sprees.... but I get your overall point.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "The fact is that a USA Today poll found that 5% of American Muslims believe violence against America is justified. Is there any other group where such a thing is true?

      What a silly thing to say.

      How about 100% of American neo-nazis and white supremacists believe violence against America (or at least minority Americans, which is still "America" in my mind) is justified?

      As to the 5%. Muslims represent 0.6% of Americans. So, 5% of 0.6% is less than 100,000 people, and it doesn't mean that many of them would actually do something about it.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • God

      100% of ignorant white American trailer park trash "Christians" believe violence against any American not like them is justified.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  11. Nice try

    Muslims always tries to make Christian seem bad..... They don't realize how violent Mohammad was and the Koran... Blind and stupid people

    April 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I think christians do a pretty good job of making themselves look bad without any help at all.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • obsthetimes

      They're aware but they're just playing dumb. They want to islamize the world just like mohd. converted the arabian peninsula.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  12. Bryan

    Hey Hkhalihhdtpth, STFU! Yours is the only religion in 2013 who kills people for denouncing them. You kill your own people if they leave the religion. Yours IS a religion of hatred and murder...no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You are all the same. If my faith went around in 2013 blowing people up, I'd separate myself from that religion. You dummies always say the same old crap every time a bombing/murder happens...don't lump us all together. Well the truth, by definition, does not lie. Islam is a murderous, hatred-filled religion of satan and until you wacko spit-talkers stop killing people in the name of allah, you'll never prove it any different.

    April 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • darryl

      here, here! well said!

      April 20, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Al

      If my faith went around in 2013 blowing people up, I'd separate myself from that religion.

      Sure you would.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  13. Really

    I just wiped my ášš off with the Koran

    April 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • darryl

      I hope you had a big dinner of pork first!

      April 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar

      I wiped my pigs' a$$es with a Bible, a Koran, a Torah, and a statue of Buddha.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm |

    Ban Islam !!!!

    April 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • STFU


      April 20, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Al

      To be fair, we should ban all religion.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  15. Mark Bernadiner

    Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil. Thomas Mann

    Islam is incompatible with Western culture, history, judicial system, and civilization. Remember, our judicial system based on Judeo-Christian values. Islam objects these values and Koran calls for extermination of Christians and Jews. Muslims objective is creation of global Caliphate and establishing Shariah Law. All this eventually leads to civil war, unless we will take care and deport all muslims from US and Europe. Look what is going in Britain, France and other countries where muslims clear declared their primary objective to overcome current social systems and replace it with Sharia law. Read below confessions of leading muslims around the world, including American and watch movie the Fitna.

    Omar Ahmad Co-founder of the Council of American-Islamic Relations:
    "Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam ... Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."

    Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes clear Islam’s aggressive role in subordinating other worldly religions to it claiming,
    “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the believers our army.”

    Algerian leader Houari Boumédienne said at the United Nations in 1974:
    “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”

    Dr. Ja`far Sheikh Idris in article “Separation Of Church And State”
    http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=559 said:
    “Secularism cannot be a solution for countries with a Muslim majority or even a sizeable minority, for it requires people to replace their God-given beliefs with an entirely different set of man-made beliefs. Separation of religion and state is not an option for Muslims because is requires us to abandon Allah's decree for that of a man.”

    Al-Jazeera’s Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, who is widely hailed as a moderate reformer in the West, said:
    “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor,” and “the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology.”

    A Saudi Sheikh, Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-‘Arifi, imam of the mosque of King Fahd Defense Academy, said:
    Muslims “will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it”

    Also read article “Arab-American author outlines secret 20-year strategy to undermine country” by FROM JOSEPH FARAH'S G2 BULLETIN.

    Plus, remember, all muslim organizations in US have close ties to global terrorist organizations, like Hamas, Hezbullah, Brotherhood.

    April 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • STFU

      Islam is like a mail with no address.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  16. shawn l

    Funny how every time muslims do something evil, other muslims jump in saying HEY DON'T CAST US IN THE SAME LIGHT! Yet there is a decided lack of muslims in this country, and in others stepping forward to condemn and root out the radicals in their religion.

    April 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  17. ELH

    Until all the influential Muslim leaders stand with one voice and publicly condemn the Muslin extremists in the mass media I will continue to 'lump 'em all together.'

    After 9/11, Muslims by the thousands danced in the streets. Up yours.

    April 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Robert Slater

      Point made, Profanity not needed. There are whole societies celebrating Moslem terrorists, in Palestinian areas, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Malaysia. Philippines, and indeed the whole Islamic world. We have no streets in the USA named after Timothy McVeigh. Islam is still a Religon of the 7th century. It needs a reformation badly.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      thousands? more like millions!!

      April 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  18. bacon eater

    I just took a dump on Mohammed's picture.

    April 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Charming. Your mother must be so proud.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  19. Diogonese

    KL, dude, how about this: It's not OK to target innocent people because they are NOT Muslim. For decades now, you can't read or hear a news report without some imam or jihadist-type saying to attack, mame and kill non-Muslims. Millions of Muslims dance in the street when this happens. You can't expect sane people not to be skeptical, cautious and, well, sane. You know what would help: how about a million man march or three to protest Muslim oppression, mayhem and the slaughter of innocent non-Muslims. Either stand up and do something positive or shut up and it down.

    April 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar

      I want to go to a country that experiences female infestation.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  20. tim620

    The author of this article is correct. We can not label all Muslims as "evil" because of the acts of a few individuals. Many so called "Christians" have also done evil things, but Christians tend to forget about them and only focus on the evil acts of Muslims (or people of other faiths).

    April 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm |

      No one does worst hindu terrorism than hindus racist of hindered gutter of hindu secular ism, criminal self center ism india, they practice hinduism , racism by faith and live by way of primate in hindu criminal cast system, so much so, it is nothing more than killing an ant, than to kill a low cast human being on daily bases. but claim human equality to hind humanity to be human of civility.

      April 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Allahu Akbar

      Low cast(e) human beings, huh? So India has Democrats and MSNBC employees, too?

      April 20, 2013 at 11:14 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.