A Muslim chaplain at New York University, Khalid Latif, noting a recent debate at the university on the question of whether or not “Islam Is a Religion of Peace,” published a piece for CNN Monday saying that the answer is that “Islam is a religion of peace, or it isn’t.” Latif explains that “there is no one answer,” for “the Muslim community is by no means monolithic and viewing us as one is problematic. We are diverse.” Yet his own stance toward Islamic jihadists reveals the abject failure of self-proclaimed moderate Muslims in general to deal adequately with the global crisis within the Islamic world.
Latif complains that Muslims “find ourselves in a moment in which we are very narrowly understood. That normative understanding is equated to something radical, despite the fact that 93 percent of Muslims are found to be far from radical according to recent Gallup surveys.” Compounding this difficulty, he says, is that “typically when one of us from that 93 percent steps up to speak, we are vehemently told that we either do not represent Islam or even more absurdly that we are not truly practicing Islam’s teachings.”
This even happened during the NYU debate – or so Latif claimed. When a peaceful Muslim, Zeba Khan, spoke up, Latif said, her “voice, her interpretation, and all of her efforts were collectively dismissed since she did not fit into what Hirsi Ali believed Islam to be.” Ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali was on the panel arguing against the idea that Islam was a religion of peace.
Latif claimed of the Muslim who was arguing that Islam was peaceful, Maajid Nawaz, that “those opposed to the motion told him that it is his peaceful understanding of Islam that is rooted in misinterpretation, since it does not match up with the interpretation put forth by the radical minority, and thus somehow ignores the fundamentals of Islam since those groups somehow are the end-all be-all of what Islam actually means.”
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