Young Muslim voices: Taking back our religion

By Zeba IqbalExecutive Director of CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals) In January, Dr. John Esposito of the … Continued

By Zeba Iqbal
Executive Director of CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals)

In January, Dr. John Esposito of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, and one of America’s foremost authorities and interpreters of Islam, spoke with fellows from the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute about his new book, The Future of Islam. He spoke about Islam’s rich tradition of renewal and reform as fundamental to the Islamic worldview.

The first decade of the 21st Century was extremely trying for Muslim Americans. Our community was pushed into the corner often on a broad array of issues – social, cultural, religious, political, etc. We forcefully defended ourselves and wrestled our religion back from extremists (both Muslim and non-Muslim), and learned a great deal along the way. Those efforts required most if not all of our concerted attention. Thus, we spent much of the past decade in a reactive and introspective stance.

In the last few years, we have been becoming better prepared to address our continuing challenges more strategically and efficiently. A case in point is the event of Aasiya Zubair’s murder. Aasiya Zubair’s husband murdered her in a straight-cut case of domestic violence, but the media called it an ‘honor killing.’ We gathered our resources and put out a Call to Action for a coordinated prayer. The Call to Action also acknowledged domestic violence as an issue in our community while dispelling any claims of honor killing.

Additionally, certain significant events and initiatives have strengthened our platform and furthered our cause considerably including President Obama’s mention of Muslims in his inaugural speech and the runaway success of David Eggers’ bestselling book, Zeitoun.

We are still challenged, but today, Muslim Americans can finally take a deep breath and look away from our immediate needs even if only for a few moments at a time, toward our long-term vision and dream of a true place in the American tapestry.

We are at a crossroads, and our position today offers us the unique opportunity to choose our way forward. We can continue to be wholly reactive, or we can choose to be more wholly proactive, and set out to renew and reform our vision, our actions and our way forward.

Being proactive includes strategic risk-taking and decision-making, as well as significant investments in the development of our vision, our future leaders and our organizations (strategic planning, leadership development and succession planning, organizational development and fund raising, to name a few). On the intra-faith level, this would include consciously committing to constructive criticism; relationship building (across ideological, gender, generational, organizational and ethnic lines), and agreeing to disagree. This would include openly and confidently looking beyond ourselves seeking allies whose interests align with our own.

Muslim Americans seek a valued place in American society. Now seems like the perfect time to start pursuing that vision again. Are we up for the challenge? If we are, the clock starts now.

Zeba Iqbal is a Muslim American community networker and activist. She is the Executive Director of CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals) and is a 2009-10 AMCLI fellow.

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  • abrahamhab1

    “Muslim Americans seek a valued place in American society”If true they sure have a strange way of showing it. As individuals they brag between themselves that their loyalties are to their Ummah; the Muslim Nation. Their organizations are financing our foreign enemies and openly calling to subvert our constitution and replace it with their obsolete, intolerant and supremacist primitive ideology. Everything else is Taqqiya; Sharia sanctioned deception.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    John Esposito is a self-serving hypocrite on the bankroll for years of Saudi Arabia, which funds his “program.”I have seen this narcissistic opportunist in person defending Saudi Arabia’s barbaric treatment of Saudi women, fighting off objections by SAUDI MEN.Time and again, he has been exposed as the corrupt fraud that he is.

  • hitman2

    Zeba IqbalA thought provoking article. The path is not that easy. There are hidden hands who want to spoil Islamic and Christian social order at the same time. This tiny group of people changes color like a lizard. They cronies are also found here in these blogs.

  • hitman2

    Zeba IqbalA thought provoking article. The path is not that easy. There are hidden hands who want to spoil Islamic and Christian social order at the same time. This tiny group of people changes color like a lizard. There cronies are also found here in these blogs.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    I also think it would be helpful if Muslim nations stopped persecuting their Christian and Hindu minorities, having wiped out the Jews of the region.It is time, that Muslims started speaking out about the persecution of minorities endorsed by paid Islamic extremists like Hitman, who posts under several monikers.That would be the best way to take back Islam.

  • Secular

    Is it me or does anyone else find this article too self serving, and self congratulatory. First paragraph starts of about Esposito’s book on muslim renewal & reformation. What renewal and reformation has taken place in islam for the past 1400 years. There had been a big schism right at the beginning. There were a few who thought mantle of Mo should have gone to the ever whiny, and envious son-in-law Ali. Which was opposed by his beloved, who even fought Ali in a pitched battle. Wow that must have been a sight to behold. Guess what those who gained upper hand were the descendants of Quraish, although they themselves were not necessarily sold on Islam it served their purposes to accept it to gain power in this world. The looser were the Mo’s descendants. That was no renewal nor reformation. Islam had remained a static institute born out of the ramblings of a narcissist without any change for last 1400 years.Then this article also claims “We forcefully defended ourselves and wrestled our religion back from extremists (both Muslim and non-Muslim), and learned a great deal along the way.” I am amazed at this claim. I want to know what was wrestled back from the extremists. To this day all I see is the so called moderates making apologies for the extremists. I see more and more mulima wanting sport a burqa and reject the mores of the land they live in. I have not seen a single instance of them pushing for tolerance in their own countries to liberalize and be more tolerant towards other religions. All they have been doing is complaining how terrible their life here is west is. But not a word about how to make life better for dissidents in their own societies.I say enough with the whining.

  • Secular

    Hitman2 you wrote:”What a fun and amusement to find that confessed atheists are defending a particular religion. Don’t we call them Hypocrites?What non-sense are you talking about. Before that post of yours there were only two other persons who posted namely Farnaz, & abrahamhab1. neither of them were defending any religion. They were faulting your beloved Islam. the fact is that with your post all you have exposed is yourself – your bigotry, you intolerance, your poor analytical skills, your poor grasp of the context, and that you will not miss an opportunity to spew your invective. So long Mr.

  • rajimali

    Again today 2 American Muslim men arrested in NJ today. So there is a problem in Islam. I don’t see other groups engage in so much hatred, intolerance and violence as Muslims do.

  • AKafir

    “Dr. John Esposito of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center “Esposito does not have any honor or credibility. He sold his integrity a long time ago in the service of petro dollars from the Saudi’s. “We forcefully defended ourselves and wrestled our religion back from extremists (both Muslim and non-Muslim), and learned a great deal along the way.”You are still wrestling and it is becoming obvious to the world that your Quran, Ahdeet, and your Sunnah of Muhammad are more aligned with who you term as extremists. You don’t even pay lip service to tolerance. Last week a 100 Ahmeddiyas were butchered, and on Pakistani TV they are regularly declared as “Wajib ul Qatl” (one who should be killed), and where was the Islamic establishment wrestling to protect the lives of being butchered?You need to look at Islam dispassionately and see that it needs reform to allow Muslims to live in the 21st century with others. Instead of denying that it needs reform, you are burying your head in the sand and calling those who are true to the teachings of Islam as extremists. That hypocrisy and inconsistency will not work. Try being honest with yourself and with the Kaafirs around you. Reform your Islam.

  • Arif2

    The future of Islam is bleak at best. Islam was once a religion that few knew anything about. In the 21st Century people have learnt all about the so called perfect “prophet” of Islam. People are fully aware of Islamic “human” rights. If the first decade of the 21st Century was trying then wait for the second century. Muslims have a huge problem to solve, explain the life of their prophet. Explain the direct link to terrorism and Koran, the direct link to terrorism and the life of their prophet mohammed. Mohammeds rapes and wives, his child bride his hatred of women, he hated the Jews and despised the pagans. Islams holy book is full of holes and contradiction. Muslim countries have absolutely no problem with their koran or question their stupid inhumane sharia. Questioning their prophets life or lewd behavior leads to death. Muslims in the West may and successfully have the upper hand in the PC arena but their own actions will not further the lie. The “scholars” of Islam will always be behind, the cult of Islam has only one way to further its cause; violence.

  • hitman2

    Zeba IqbalA thought provoking article. The path is not that easy. There are hidden hands who want to spoil Islamic and Christian social order at the same time. This tiny group of people changes color like a lizard. There cronies are also found here in these blogs.

  • abrahamhab1

    The most virulent critics of Islam in the West are former Muslims. Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish, Ali Sina, Mousaab Hasan are one sample. On the Wapo blogs there are few; the most prominent being AKafir and Arif2. The reason being they know more about the ideology , deceptions and practices than the rest of us.

  • hitman2

    ABRAHAMHAB1You forget Ayan Ali Hirisi and Irshad Manji and ????///. All those you have named are paupers who left their religion for economical gains. Where they were before

  • Secular

    Hitman2:Off the 6 characters you mentioned above there is only one character that is not fictional. The rest are figments of your and billion others. That does not mean any of that is true. The one who not fictional was a narcissistic-megalomania cal-tyrant. When we point out the falws in your scriptures all you do is spew invective. Tell us where we are wrong. Just making claims is not enough. You need to prove them.Additionally all of your 47 Dar-ul-islams are not fit places for any free-thinking person or people of other faiths. Every one is persecuted there unless you lie that you bought into all the nonsense that goes for Koran.

  • ThomasBaum

    hitman2You wrote, “Either one worships Allah the Lord of all of us.The God of Prophet Abrahim, Moses, jesus and Muhammad (PBUT) or you worship many gods in many shapes which is following the devil.”First off Allah is a generic Arabic word and it’s meaning is God. Both Christianity and Islam use that term where the language is Arabic, Islam uses it everywhere.God and the god of Islam are not one and the same, as a matter of fact the god of Islam is satan.Jews believe in One God and do not recognize Jesus as either a Prophet or God-Incarnate, at least the Jews that believe in God.Christians believe that Jesus Is God-Incarnate, not merely a Prophet and that God Is One and yet a Trinity.Muslims believe in one god who says that Jesus is a liar but nevertheless is his prophet considering the “fact” of exactly what Jesus was referring to when He walked on this planet.The god of islam gets mighty “upset” when anyone refers to Jesus as the Son of God or for that matter refers to themself as a son or daughter of God, the god of Islam does not want a “relationship” with humanity, at least not one worth having.You also wrote, “Islam is a great universal faith, peace and salvation for the whole humanity.”Seems as if the only “universal” thing about Islam is that it wants to put the whole world under “subjugation”, isn’t that its meaning “submit”.Isn’t it in Islam, one is to “submit”, to be subject to, whereas in Christianity, one is to obey, which is to “listen to”.Quite a different relational attitude.Whether anyone believes or does not believe what is written in the bible or the koran, it should be obvious that “God” spoken of in both of them are not the same.satan is a liar and anyone should know that the best liars use some truth.The True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof.Truth is Truth, irregardless of whether anyone believes it or not and God’s Plan is for All to be in God’s Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.God is our Judge, I am just a messenger and as God-Incarnate, Jesus, already told us, satan has already been judged and satan’s time is short as prince of this world.No one will be able to hide behind any “labels”, (Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, etc.), whether or not we have accepted our resonsibility for our actions, Jesus’s Words ring out, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.Words for the ages, not just for the moment.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • hitman2

    xxx

  • hitman2

    ThomasBaum Seems your knowledge about Islam and Muslims is very limited, probably what you have learned from “hate blog” on the net.Islam is not a new religion at all. It was paractised by all the righteous people from the times of all prophets of Allah.

  • Secular

    Mr. Hitman, enough of your silly empty claims, if you found them persuading so be it. It shows your credulity. We are not buying these silly, fantastic, & superstitious claims. When you can make more persuasive argument without appealing to blind faith come back. Just because we are not buying does not mean you and your ilk get to threaten us, bully us when you are in the majority. That is precisely what you and your ilk in all those 47 paradises. Before you hurl invective hear go and try to fix those 47 Dar-ul-islams, so they are at least one tenth as free as this Dar-ul-harab, we all call the US of A.

  • ThomasBaum

    hitman2 Part IIYou also wrote, “Islam is not a new religion at all. It was paractised by all the righteous people from the times of all prophets of Allah.”This is simply not true.There were no Jews before Abraham because this is when God chose and then formed those who would become known as Jews.There were no Christians before Jesus and there were no Muslims before Mohammed.You also wrote, “The only and only one Supereme power”.When you think of God, is that what you think of, power?God is a Being of Pure Love and as I have said, Love is not a attribute of God but is God’s Very Being.You then wrote, “They are enslave by the vicious system tightend around their necks, for example like interest, gambling , alcohol addiction and wild free sex, all such things have brought havoc in their personal lifes.”So are you saying that Islam’s answer is to impose sharia law on the whole planet?You then wrote, “We only show you the choice to follow the right path, the path of peace and salvation which is called Islam.”Seems to me that when you use the word “We” in the above sentence, you have thrown “credibility” to the wind considering that many of the “We” want to jam it down other’s throats, is this not true?I do not speak for “Christians” and I do not see how you or anyone else can speak for “Muslims” but I do speak for God and I have said that God’s Plan is for ALL to be in God’s Kingdom.You have written, “Islam is a great universal faith, peace and salvation for the whole humanity.”Do you honestly believe that “salvation” is for ALL OF HUMANITY?Is the “salvation” that you refer to, the subjugation of the entire human race to sharia law or something else?It is not about religion (rules, regulations, dogma, etc.), it is about God’s Plan and God’s Plan Will come to Fruition.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    hitman2 Part IYou wrote, “Seems your knowledge about Islam and Muslims is very limited, probably what you have learned from “hate blog” on the net.I agree that my “knowledge” of Islam and Muslims is limited but I do not base what I write on other people’s opinions, but on what has been revealed to me from God about God.As far as “hate blogs”, there is so much hate being spewed out in all directions from all directions, I ask, why should I base anything on this?I have met the Trinity which is referred to as God the Father, God the Son (Jesus, God-Incarnate) and God the Holy Spirit.Doesn’t the god of Islam get, shall we say, bent out of shape when anyone says that God Is a Trinity and that Jesus Is God-Incarnate, the Son of God or if anyone considers themself a son or daughter of God?This is a simple question, I have asked it before and you have either refused to answer it or ignored it, is this true about the god of Islam or not?I have also said that not only has satan denied that Jesus Is God-Incarnate but also that he has tried to claim Jesus as his prophet.I have also said that even tho Mulsims do not consider Jesus, God-Incarnate, there are those of them that “follow Jesus” better than some who consider Jesus to be God-Incarnate.I have never said anything “bad” about Muslims but I have said that the god of Islam is satan, there is a difference.