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. Shanna

    It's just a few months ago when Adam Lanza killed 20 school children (ages 6 and 7) in Connecticut and James Holmes killed 12 people and wounding 58 others in Aurora theater. I don't recall Muslims going around and backlash against whatever race or religion these dudes had. What right does anyone else has to backlash against Muslims for what these two Russians did? Report any hate crimes immediately to the Police and let the authorities handle it. Muslims work and pay taxes like anybody else here and in this country you go to jail for hurting someone regardless of your race and religion.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • truthmonger

      Yes they do, But if you look at examples from UK and France, the moment their numbers rise, they start demanding separate sharia laws and special treatment, there has already been instances of trying to invoke Sharia laws in US court cases (of course they were thrown out) and then comes the violence,

      April 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Steve

      @ truthmonger – you are right, of course.

      April 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Katie

      Truthmonger: that sounds like what the Christians want to do when they get their numbers up. They want to change the laws so everyone has to abide by their doctrine. If they can't change the law, they want exceptions so they don't have to follow it.

      April 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Texan

      Muslims work and buy pressure cookers and blast kids and women and that is why Muslims are hated throughout the world!

      April 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  2. Anton Dubinski

    My take: WHY NOT?

    April 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  3. K from AZ

    Read the 'quoran'! Islam wants world domination!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Every knee shall bow..." oh wait! Wrong book. Sorry...

      April 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  4. the basics

    Muslim men will tell you many reasons that the infidels must be killed, but they don’t tell you the truth.
    And that 2” is crooked and grotesque. They couldn’t get laid at a freak show. Who can blame them for being angry?

    April 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  5. lionlylamb

    Soullessness is an academic conundrum around which spiritualism oozes upon the semantic perpetrations analogous to sensual awakenings. God either is or isn't and such it is as it ever was and will ever be in questionable quandaries around socialism's spiritual abatements. I for one believe in justifiable augments of Godliness ideals. The unjustifiable hatred of cultured clemencies affixed towards soulless godlessness disenfranchises the rudimentary physics of soulfulness issues. The societal temperament alluring away from godlessness and soulless renditions dare brings one the reverence of Godliness in one and toward all. I rebuke godlessness and the soulless meanderings of those few who but shout out vulgarities of senseless repet-itiveness against the Godly idealists.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

      spit on my face, I am ashamed to be a muslim

      April 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      A "soul"? a quick head would will change you "soul" – change who you are , change everything about your personality.

      the "soul" as you religious types call it, is simply your personality, and by extension your moral compass.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      R.M. Goodswell,

      The 'souls' are what binds and does bond the societal hierarchies within any religious endowments of Godliness temperaments. The soulless epitomizes immoral constructs of the socialistic abodes ever to highlight those judged misguided in order to gain percentile strengths, nothing more. Though the Godly folks be not perfect, they continue on ever hampering that which they find disproven within the abodes of moralized socialisms. I love God and in my godly ideals I treasure the godliness of Life.

      April 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  6. the basics

    Muslim women must cover themselves completely because Muslim men cannot maintain an erection and it is infuriating to them when they are aroused, only to feel the tiny grotesque appendage attached to their groin shrivel and die like a week-old umbilical cord.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm |

      My you are so wrong. Please go study this topic before you make a fool out of yourself and comment any more because your arrogance will soon kill someone.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • NO I AM NOT

      go and see yourself ca1800 artwork, the link from british museum


      April 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  7. Paul L

    We shouldn't target muslims for reprisals, but until the majority of the muslims stand up vehemently against these radical islamist jihadis, we should subject them to increased scrutiny and reduced levels of trust.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

    pee on the grave of boston terrorist, spit on my face, I am ashamed to be a muslim,

    April 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • the basics

      Oy! Again with the spitting. The peeing I can understand, but the spitting! Oyvey.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  9. R.M. Goodswell

    Mr Latif,

    You opened with the Oklahoma Bombing as if that one event somehow gives Islam bombers some kind of pass.

    Islamic bombers are killing people to terrorize non muslims into letting Islam have a free run. Timothy McVeigh targeted the feds directly.... make no mistake, this doesn't excuse his actions one bit....but if he followed the Muslim pattern he would have planted the truck in Times Square.

    Id say that for every non muslim bomber, there are at least 10 or more muslim bombers.... its just how your religion works.

    Ever ask yourself why martyrdom is looked upon as a really cool thing by religions- in particular, yours? If I have a true believer following me, Im going to want that guy to stick around....the only time I would ask the man to martyr himself is if I didn't really give a damn about him.

    Anyway- Your religion is a sham to begin with... its based on Judaism – Which is wrong just in its timeline alone. What? Creator of the Universe just couldn't make it to the Chinese who could read, write and do mathematics LONG before the jewish tribes ever existed. What? he have the wrong travel agency book his flights? the wrong ad agency handle his press.

    Wake up.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

      You couldn't be anymore wrong.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Ok....what am I wrong about? Hit me with it:)

      April 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm |

      You say that that is how the religion works. You are very wrong. Islam is the most peaceful religion. Just because you have a few people that have a different outlook on the religion itself, does not mean you defy that religion based on those select individuals. If you accidentally eat an expired chocolate bar, you do not start hating on chocolate overall, you just do not finish that particular chocolate bar. This is why sir, you are very, very wrong.

      April 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell


      Religion isn't a bad chocolate bar my friend:) When the religions of the world say jump, their followers jump. Very bad news if the Clergy wants to achieve some goal at the expense of a rival.

      In Islam's case, Terrorism has been a constant since the 70s.... you are asking us to Ignore all the bombings, hijackings, beheadings, acid attacks... all that lovely stuff is just a few bad apples? ...why don't we see this volume of violence from other religions? What about Atheists? If what you religious types say about us is even close to true, we should be the worst of the worst.

      Religion is the single greatest threat facing humanity. Divisive, paranoid, exploitive...... Can you image a totally Christian world? a totally Islamic world? That is what they want- domination. Now heres a question for you... Would you really want to live in a world where Islam reigns supreme? for me, Hell on earth doesn't begin to describe that scenario .

      April 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  10. Griffco76

    "muslim leaders condemn bombing suspects?" lol....muslim leaders are ALL bombing suspects....born criminals!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  11. billybilly

    How can we see Muslims as moderates when they immediately elect genocidal extremists like hamas and the muslim brotherhood into political office? Doing so voluntarily means that only they are to blame. Perhaps I would feel more sympathy for them if they did not choose to support hate groups that want to see an entire people wiped off the map.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  12. Griffco76

    I spit in the face of the rotted corpse known as the so-called "prophet" mohamma...yoamma. What say you?

    April 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm |

      See you in hell habibi

      April 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  13. truth1111

    Look at the world today.... How CANT we group evildoers with Muslims????

    April 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • truth1111

      I don't see Hindus bombing innocent children....You should be reported....! We can't take any more chances on people like you...

      April 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

      You are an idiot sir

      April 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  14. Griffco76

    There once was an urbanite who contyracted khalid motif. If I remember correctly he developed a perverted attraction to his family pets.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  15. Reality

    Only for the eyes of sister and brother Muslims to include Khalid Latif:

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    April 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Reality


      في خمس خطوات لأبطل تأثير 1400 سنة من الأساطير الإسلامية:

      (-خطوات اتخاذ أقل من دقيقتين لإنهاء-ببساطة مدهشة، دقيقتين لإحلال السلام والعقلانية إلى أكثر من مليار فقدت النفوس لا تقدر بثمن!)

      هل أنت مستعد؟

      استخدام "الفروع الإسلامية 77 من" الإيمان "مجموعة الإمام البيهقي المترجمة كنقطة انطلاق. في ذلك، وهو ما يفسر الفضائل الأساسية التي تعكس صحيح" الإيمان "(إيمان) من خلال الآيات القرآنية ذات الصلة، وأحاديث نبوية." أي ملخص لطيفة من المعتقدات القرآن والإسلامية.

      الخمسة الأولى من الفروع 77:

      "1. الإيمان بالله"

      كما يعرف أيضا باسم الله، الرب، زيوس، الرب، الطبيعة الأم، وما إلى ذلك يجب أن تضاف إلى الخلايا العصبية التطهير الذاتي الخاص.

      "2. إلى الاعتقاد بأن كل شيء غيرها مما كان الله غير موجود. بعد ذلك، الله سبحانه وتعالى خلق هذه الأشياء، وبعد ذلك جاءوا إلى حيز الوجود."

      التطور والانفجار الكبير أو "غي ب G-NAB" (عند بدء الكون لإعادة تدوير) هي أكثر ترجيحا وينبغي أن تدرج في "المندرجة" في سبيل الله إذا كنت لا تزال تشكل "بجمعية العقارات، tionist".

      "3. إلى الاعتقاد في وجود الملائكة."

      A بندا رئيسيا لتطهير الخلايا العصبية. الملائكة / دي VILS هي الإبداعات الأسطورية من الحضارات القديمة، على سبيل المثال HITT خائبي، لشرح / تعريف الأحداث الطبيعية، والاتصالات مع آلهتهم، والطيور الكبيرة، والرياح المفاجئة، وحماة خلال الليالي المظلمة، وما إلى ذلك لا "ثينجيس افسح المجال ل جميلة / UG-LY" بزيارة أي وقت مضى أو تحدثت إلى محمد، يسوع، مريم أو يوسف أو جو سميث. اليوم سوف نصنف الملائكة كما F-airies و "القصدير كير تكون LLS". تصنف الحديثة دو VILS مثل دي مونس هيئة اجتثاث mented.

      "4. إلى الاعتقاد بأن جميع الكتب السماوية التي تم إرسالها إلى الأنبياء مختلفة صحيحا. ومع ذلك، وبصرف النظر عن القرآن، كل الكتب الأخرى ليست صالحة بعد الآن."

      ومن البنود الرئيسية في حذفها. لا يوجد كتب في ولاية روح السماء (إذا كان هناك واحد) فقط حيث لم تعد هناك ملائكة لكتابة / نشر / توزيعها. القرآن، OT، NT وما هي ببساطة الكتب التي كتبت من قبل البشر للبشر.

      اخترعت الأنبياء من قبل الكتبة القديمة عادة للحفاظ على الجماهير غير المتعلمة في الخط. اليوم ونحن ندعو لهم فرز الأصوات للتناغم.

      النبوءات كما invali مؤرخة من قبل الطبيعية / الله / الله الهدايا من الإرادة الحرة والمستقبل.

      "5. إلى الاعتقاد بأن جميع الأنبياء صحيحا. ومع ذلك، ونحن مأمورون اتباع النبي محمد (عليه الصلاة والسلام
      صلى الله عليه وسلم) وحده ".

      قضى محمد ثلاثين يوما "الصيام" (أسطورة رمضان) في كهف الساخن قبل أول اتصال له مع الله الملقب الخ الله عبر "ممتزوجات افسح المجال ل جميلة". الحس السليم يتطلب حذف الخلايا العصبية من # 5. # 5 هو أيضا المصدر الرئيسي للالاسلامي VI-olence أي تحول محمد "سريع، يحركها الجوع" hallu-cinations إلى واقع فظيع لغير المؤمنين.

      المشي هذه خمس خطوات، ونحن نضمن الانتعاش الكامل من الطرق الإسلامية الخاصة بك!!

      للأسف، لا توجد العديد من المعلقين مسلم / القراء على هذا بلوق لذلك "مدة دقيقتين" العلاج هو عدم الحصول على لأولئك الذين في حاجة إليها. إذا كان لديك صديق مسلم، ترسل له نسخة وتساعد في إنقاذ العالم.

      تتوفر خطوات مماثلة في طلبك للحصول على deprogramming الأساطير المسيحية واليهودية والبوذية والهندوسية والوثنية .

      April 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm |

      Atheist believe we started from nothing, and we made nothing from nothing. yes....makes perfect sense...idoit

      April 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Reality

      o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      April 22, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • The real Tom

      What's really hilarious is that this doofus actually thinks anyone reads his posts.

      April 22, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  16. Mohammad's Parrot

    primate !! primate !! cooker !! primate !! pressure !! primate

    April 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  17. Griffco76

    Soon Americans will begin their own campaign to wipe out one-by-one the sewage pit mass of inhumanity known comically as the so-called "nation" of islam.
    In cities all across America...muslim trash will be hunted down and disposed of in quick order....just to show everybody that we can really do it! Praise God!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

      you are not praising God by killing off his creations. You are what we call a hypocrite.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • G to the T

      To be truly equivalent, you should go over to the middle east before you start killing anyone. Oh Wait! We already have people doing that...

      April 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  18. the basics

    We should all take a deep breath and eat a sandwich. Fortunately, our penises are not tiny and misshapen like Muslims. Islamabot may have already taken a steak knife to his grotesque appendage.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  19. Griffco76

    WTH is a khalid motif? Sounds like the sound I make when I pass gas!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  20. lol??

    Christians have no "leaders", but God.

    "Mat 23:8-10 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, [even] Christ."

    In America the Master Servant relationship is expressed in the gubmint. The servants are PUblic and the Masters are the citizen taxpayers, at least until the socies took over.

    April 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Reality

      Matt 23: 8-10 is a single attestation found no where else in scripture making it historically nil. See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb421.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's review and conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp 225-228.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • lol??

      Reality, scripture is not "voted" on, no matter what your socialists pals say.

      April 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Reality

      Crossan's and Ludemann's exhaustive studies and conclusions were not voted on. See their work as published in their books, The Historical Jesus and Jesus After 2000 Years respectively. Part of Professor Crossan's book is on-line at Google Books.

      April 21, 2013 at 12:51 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.