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Obama Urged to Address World's Muslims From US Mosque

By Abdul Malik Mujahid

 

Abdul Malik Mujahid is President of Sound Vision Foundation, the leading producer of educational content on Islam and Muslims. He is also executive producer of ... ...

Article Word Count: 526 [View Summary] Comments (0)

 

President Barack Obama pledged to address Muslims from a Muslim country within 100 days of taking office. But delivering the speech in a mosque on U.S. soil promises a bigger impact. Muslim Americans support efforts to improve relations with Muslims overseas. But the president also must engage Muslims at home. We need him to be our president, too.

 

He could begin by making his address to Muslims worldwide from a mosque on American soil. Why not Masjid Al-Fatir, the mosque in the president's Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago?

 

Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight boxing champion, built that mosque. He's an American Muslim respected throughout the Muslim world. The president never visited an American mosque during his campaign. Because of anti-Muslim bigotry, he felt it necessary to keep a public distance from American Muslims. Terrorists and extremists who "defend" violence against the United States in the name of Islam fuel fear, bigotry and negative Muslim stereotypes. Their killings and disregard for human life is an affront to all, most especially to American Muslims.

 

Muslims are grateful for the steps President Obama has taken to lessen the hostilities abroad. He banned torture, ordered the closing of Guantanamo Bay and the CIA's secret interrogation centers. He also appointed special envoys to three trouble spots in the Muslim world. He gave his first television interview after taking office to Middle Eastern station.

 

The last presidential administration treated American Muslims as virtual enemies of the state, discouraged our civic involved and suppressed our voices. We were isolated and rendered invisible. Isolating the terrorists and extremists is an urgent task with which no one disagrees. But it's vital to U.S. interests to engage American Muslims as partners in building relationships with the Muslim world. This is not only a matter of respect, but a matter of our common interests.

 

American Muslims are a global village made up of diverse communities of African Americans and immigrants from many nations. Among Muslims, they are one of the largest groups of highly educated professionals in the world.

Tens of thousands are physicians and surgeons. Others serve in higher education. Many proudly serve in the U.S. military. I personally know at least six Muslims in Chicago who played critical roles in key Muslim governments. Many are directly connected with the ruling elites of the countries of their birth.

 

Part of the change that American Muslims hope for is to be valued as an asset by their country rather than viewed as a liability. We long for a president who will welcome our voices and our public service. Nearly 3,000 prayer locations, mosques and Islamic centers serve an estimated six million Muslims in the United States. We invite our president to stand with us publicly and vigorously battle against Islamophobia -- the bigotry he tasted during his campaign and we experience daily.

 

The choice of a U.S. mosque for the president's address would affirm what he stated at his inauguration: that Muslims are part of the fabric of our nation. More importantly, it would acknowledge that the key to repairing relations between America and the Muslim world are those who know both best: American Muslims.

 

2009 Abdul Malik Mujahid

 

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid just concluded a four-year term as chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. Imam Mujahid is president of Sound Vision Foundation (http://www.SoundVision.com) and the executive producer of nation's only daily Muslim talk show (http://www.RadioIslam.com) on WCEV 1450 AM in Chicago.

 

Imam Mujahid serves as Vice Chair of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. He also serves at the steering committee of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights.

 

He serves at the Faith Advisory Council of the Democratic National Committee. He was an elected member of the Credentials Committee for the 2008 DNC.

 

As the national coordinator of Bosnia Task Force, USA, in 1990s he successfully led efforts in collaboration of National Organization of Women (NOW) to declare rape as a war crime.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Abdul_Malik_Mujahid

 

 

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