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. Griffco76

    I spit on the sea-bourne grave of osama, yo mama!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • the basics

      You spit in the ocean. Brilliant.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

      Best a primate secular, self centered can do.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Islam Foundation...,
      Are you the Yoda of Islam?

      April 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Todd Gack

      Osama is covered in whale shi t now. That is funny!

      April 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  2. Bill Foonman

    Don't blame Muslims? What a naive and moronic comment!

    Thanks to the media, we are now aware that almost any terror group on earth originates from the Muslim world. Nothing is too barbaric for them. It doesn't matter if it includes executing children, genocide, the brutal and primitive Sharia, misogyny, rabid anti-semitism and so on. Islam is happy to trample on equality, democracy, human rights and women's and minority rights – all in Allah's name.

    As for the silent majority of so-called "moderate Muslims," they are content to stay away from pointing the finger at Islam as a whole, a religion that like an interminable production line, gives rise to much of the world's violence.

    These terror attacks are aimed at killing as many people as possible. The Islamic terror industry knows no boundaries and cannot be satisfied. In 2010 alone, according to official figures, Islamic terror and violence slaughtered no fewer than 29,832 people. The actual numbers are likely much higher.

    This will never change unless the ideology behind it changes. Islam induces hate backed by lies. The terrorists follow the real Islam. If you don’t approve jihad, you cannot be a real Muslim and Islam, in the radical form that it has evolved into, is entirely incompatible with the Western belief system.

    A "Religion of Peace?"

    Nobody is fooled.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • the basics

      Jewish faith –> Christians –> Muslims

      All small penises. Tiny little shriveled peckers.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Todd Gack

      You are correct Bill. Islam is pure evil, calling for the destruction of infidels. This commentary isn't fooling anyone. Funny how the God couldn't be spelled out in its entirety in the text.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • G to the T

      Ever consider that their anger could be politically motivated but couched in the language of religion (like we often do our end as well)?

      We've been screwing over the Middle East for oil for decades now...

      April 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      executing children – the Manmasi National Christian Army and the National Liberation Front of Tripura, force Hindus to convert at gun point and are known to encourage the murder of Hindu children.
      genocide and rabid anti-semitism – "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. ...Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross."
      – Adolf Hitler, speech on April 12, 1922

      Misogyny – "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." – I Timothy 2:11-14

      Trampling minority rights – Aryan Nations, Aryan Republican Army, Phineas Priesthood, and The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord

      There is a Christian corroloray to just about every extremist Muslim ideology out there.

      April 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  3. the basics

    Islamabot's penis is not only small, it is disfigured. An Indian prostitute could not contain a chuckle at his tiny abnormally curved pecker. Ever since, Islmabot has been an angry muslim.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  4. Griffco76

    There will be no peace in the world until the quran is burned for kindling and the so-called "nation" of islam is buried in ten miles of vomit-ridden soil.
    May your women rise up against you and bear the children of God's chosen people!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  5. Brian Fr Langley

    Every spring for nearly 700 yrs the armies of Islam (the Ottoman Empire) waged Jihad on the instructions of their founding Prophet. They did this under the 1 political caliphate that united all Muslims. (the caliphate these two brothers claimed to be trying to resurrect) Under this Caliphate Islam succeeded in conquering vast territories of the middle east and Europe. It ended only when Ottoman Empire was defeated by the allies at the end of WW1 (the Ottomans joined the Germans) Like modern Islam the Caliph always offered peace to ones he conquered. Accept our religion and we will all live in peace. Reject and we are enemies until you submit. Islam always offers peace. It just comes with a price. One that will rise when (not if) another Caliphate emerges from the currently fractured remnants of it's historical apogee. Jihad has not ended, it waits patiently in its ever growing strength.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • hppyhippi

      Thank you for your cogent analysis.

      April 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm |

    Thank you!!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • crazzilla

      Okay, I reported you. Now what's next?

      April 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm |

      @crazzilla What is next? go and hug your ISLAM son.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  7. Griffco76

    God will seek vengence on the vermin-infested garbage that is the "nation" of islam. Farrakhan is a gay child-molesting dog-licker.
    I spit on his grave.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      How very christian of you. If your god is going to seek vengeance then your gods is not so loving after all.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • G to the T

      Yeah... that should help the situation...

      April 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Odd...many muslims say the same of christianity...and they both have the same god...hillarious.

      April 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  8. BRR

    How come when a muslim does good things, all muslims are proud and want t associate with that person, and people say it makes the Ummah proud, and shows the power of the religion, the goodness etc. When the same muslim does something bad, all of a sudden the same people say this has nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with muslims, etc. Islam is what a musim does. Islam is what is apparent to the whole world. Islam is what muslims collective display – their ignorance or brialliance.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • R.Williams

      For the same reason when a Christian does something good it's a show of his faith and makes Christians proud, but when one does something bad, he's not a 'True Christian'.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  9. Reality

    To the nitty-gritty:

    "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 to include Khalid Latif 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..................................

    And yes indeed the Old Testament lists the following god-approved atrocities: Assuming god exists. ( And Moses as per the rabbis of the 1.5 million Conservative Jews did not exist)

    To wit:

    •Exodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf.

    •Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.)

    •Joshua: ◦Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed.
    ◦Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon ("larger than Ai"), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. "He left no survivors."
    ◦Joshua 11: Hazor destroyed. [Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), estimates the population of Hazor at ?> 50,000]
    ◦TOTAL: if Ai is average, 12,000 x 9 = 108,000 killed.

    •Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed.
    •Judges 3: ca. 10,000 Moabites k. at Jordan River.
    •Judges 8: 120,000 Midianite soldiers k. by Gideon
    •Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed.

    •1 Samuel 4: 4,000 Isrealites killed at 1st Battle of Ebenezer/Aphek. 30,000 Isr. k. at 2nd battle.
    •David: ◦2 Samuel 8: 22,000 Arameans of Damascus and 18,000 Edomites killed in 2 battles.

    ◦2 Samuel 10: 40,000 Aramean footsoldiers and 7,000 charioteers killed at Helam.
    ◦2 Samuel 18: 20,000 Israelites under Absalom killed at Ephraim.

    •1 Kings 20: 100,000 Arameans killed by Israelites at Battle of Aphek. Another 27,000 killed by collapsing wall.
    •2 Chron 13: Judah beat Israel and inflicted 500,000 casualties.
    •2 Chron 25: Amaziah, king of Judah, k. 10,000 from Seir in battle and executed 10,000 POWs. Discharged Judean soldiers pillaged and killed 3,000.
    •2 Chron 28: Pekah, king of Israel, slew 120,000 Judeans

    •TOTAL: That comes to about 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Old Testament/Torah.

    The New Testament has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • SCOTTA.

      when GOD allowed killing in the bible it was a form of judgment for people not following HIS ways. GOD gave you life and HE can also take it.yes HE exists. you will find it out when you stand before HIM in judgment!

      April 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Reality

      The New Testament has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity.

      April 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  10. hal

    The Boston Marathon terrorists WERE Islamic Jihadist Muslims or the equivalent! That must be known, stated, and reported by all of the media!!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  11. Bostontola

    Not all evil doers are Muslim, and not all Muslims are evil doers. Pretty obvious. But it is also very apparent that extreme fundamentalist Muslims are willing and in some cases compelled to commit violence on Westerners. They commit a disproportionate number of attacks. It's not unreasonable to count them in as suspect when an event like this happens.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • the basics

      All evil doers are Muslim. Pretty obvious. It is also very apparent that extreme fundamentalist Muslims are compelled to commit violence on Westerners. They commit all the attacks. It's not unreasonable to count them in as guilty when an event like this happens.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Timothy McVey was Muslim?

      April 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  12. End of days

    The is another sign that the end times are near. First there was the American Civil War and now this bombing in Boston. Repent people!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Lack of understanding does not equate to a god.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Still kind of soon to joke about the deaths in Boston, don't you think?

      April 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • End of days

      Point taken, but people do tend to jump on the "I want the world to end" train every time a tragedy happens.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Bostontola

      No doubt.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  13. nilla

    FACT: Every time an American President has been shot in the last 49 years, it was done in the name of actress Jodie Foster.

    Actress of Peace? Please.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • shannon2

      Wait...... What? Hhahahahaahahaaa.....

      April 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  14. the basics

    Muslim men have small penises. Very small and sad. That is why they are so angry. They must abuse women and force them to have sex. Their best option for sex is heaven. Everything else is a smoke screen.

    April 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • G to the T

      So black people never beat their wives?

      April 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  15. truthmonger

    VS Naipaul, Nobel Laureate in Literature has the following to say about the plague:
    The cruelty of Islamic fundamentalism is that it allows to only one people—the Arabs, the original people of the Prophet—a past, and sacred places, pilgrimages and earth reverences. These sacred Arab places have to be the sacred places of all the converted peoples. Converted peoples have to strip themselves of their past; of converted peoples nothing is required but the purest faith (if such a thing can be arrived at), Islam, submission. It is the most uncompromising kind of imperialism.

    April 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Russ

      @ monger: interesting. contrast that with Yale scholar Lamin Sanneh, who says that the reason Christianity has grown exponentially in African in the past century is precisely because Christianity actually allowed indigenous people to retain their cultural identi.ty...

      “Christianity answered this historical challenge by a reorientation of the worldview… People sensed in their hearts that Jesus did not mock their respect for the sacred nor their clamor for an invincible Savior, and so they beat their sacred drums for him until the stars skipped and danced in the skies. After that dance the stars weren’t little anymore. Christianity helped Africans become renewed Africans, not re-made Europeans.”

      April 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  16. Tom Cavanaugh

    I am one that sees both sides to this issue. I also wish not to stereotype, however it is a fact that "radical muslims" see America as the great Satan. This is a proven fact, they want us dead.

    It is up to our homeland security to keep us safe and I am all for doing whatever it takes in doing so. If this means profiling then so be it. If you are looking for terrorism you have to pay more attention to the culture this is all coming from. If this is not politically correct then so be it as well.

    I'd also ike to see the Muslim faithful take a stand against this behavior within their society, I see nothing but complaining about racial profiling from them. If they wish to become true Americans they need to step up to the plate and help defend our country in every way possilbe. This would show the american people who they are and how much they disapprove of such actions. I see nothing from them in this regard.

    April 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • G to the T

      Ever stop to consider why they consider us the great satan?

      April 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  17. McBob79

    This is the narrative for the mainstream media. The dirty work communicated by a non-media type. I'll say it again because it is a fact. Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim. For every Timothy McVeigh, there are 3 Muslim terrorists killing for their cause. The other issues is this, Muslims kill for religious reasons by and large so that's what binds them together. These other nut jobs are not just religiously motivated... some hate the government, some hate their parents. All of these people are evil, but it does not change the fact that most terrorist acts, committed world-wide today are perpetrated by Muslims.

    April 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  18. chuck

    There is a problem with a religion that considers all non moslems dogs. It's a fundamental problem that nobody wants to talk about. In Nigeria, Boko Haram is kiling people, and burning churches because they want the entire Nigeria to become Islamic. Yet no moslem speaks against it. Islam is not a religion of peace Read the Quoran. It's part of the religion to kill people and force them to become moslems. This is a major problem the world has to come to understand to be able to deal with this monster once and for all.

    April 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  19. Chen

    Please, don't think you are more qualified to talk about this simply because you are a jew.

    April 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Please, don't think you are qualified to talk

      April 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  20. Bill39

    "It is not OK to target innocent people just because they are Muslim." I agree with this. Why does this not work in the Middle East? You refer to hate crimes in the US. They are nothing compared with the murderous wars between Sunni and Shiite believers in Iraq, Iran, and other countries.

    The reverse is true, too: It is not OK to target innocent people just because they are not Muslim.

    April 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Good points.

      It's amazing that some religions drive men to kill each other so strongly that one sect of one religion will kill people of another sect of that same religion. Sunni/Shiite, Protestant/Catholic.

      April 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Mikieisangry

      Yet it is preached (albeit by radical Imams that it is OK to target innocent people because they are NOT Muslim. When Muslims stop the radical Imams from preaching their hatred and the terrorist organizations that they breed, then I can and will be much more accepting of members of that faith.

      April 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
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About this blog

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.