President Obama used a religious event to make a political statement -- one that was simultaneously an insult to the entire Muslim- and Arab-American community.
Let's address the elephant in the newsroom: a Muslim woman with a headscarf. Yes, I am a news reporter. And yes, I keep this scarf on my head while reporting (though not always this particular scarf). There has yet to be a Muslim woman who wears the hijab anchoring American news in any commercial market. Needless to say I wanted (and still want) to fill the gap.
One hundred days ago, Boko Haram, a diffuse Islamic sect, abducted 243 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno State, in northeast Nigeria They carted them off to unknown forest locations where they are still being held. Some who escaped told of gang rapes. So much for religion.
We've also seen heroes that our world is need of. Doctors and medics from around the world, relief agencies and their workers, and many others who know their life is at risk being on the ground in Gaza but they still do what they can to help.
When Ramadan first started, I was excited to do it on my own: now my siblings wouldn't hog the leftover lentil soup that I so coveted during suhoor, nor would they jabber so much during suhoor that my dad would shush us all.
Even in secular contexts, people of faith can work together to encourage or discourage warfare. As violence has escalated in Israel and Gaza, an international campaign for peace has been launched, involving Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
Ramadan is the month of fasting and a time for spiritual growth among Muslims. The traditionalist approach to "spiritual growth" is for Muslims to complement their fasting with performing additional prayers at night and regular reading of the Quran throughout the month.
ISIS must be brought to justice for their crimes against Christians and all humanity. Whatever religion they claim -- it is not Islam.
We should have 100 Ayman Mohyedin's out there -- people of any background who are willing to tell the stories that are not being told simply because it's the right thing to do. What better aspiration could we guide our young people towards than that?
Life is about searching for truth; to make sense of this strange and confusing planet we live on, to know why everything is the way it is, to uncover the labyrinth behind the saying, "Everything happens for a reason."
Make no mistake about it: the dehumanization of Muslims didn't just happen overnight. On the contrary, it's part of a long process of failed imaging, stereotyping, misrepresentation and flat out bias in the press, entertainment industry and society in general.
None of this is to say that open defecation is either a good idea in this day and age, or even defensible. But making sweeping claims, using them to justify near-bigotry, and papering over obvious challenges hardly advances the conversation.
A common misconception about the Quran is that it promotes hatred of Jews and Christians, and asks Muslims to not be friends with them.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was constantly doing good for people, whether they were his supporters or not. It's one thing to be good to people who are treating you well. It's another to be good to someone who isn't.
I serve as a University Chaplain for New York University and Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU. Earlier today, I delivered a short sermon that I was recommended to share with you by some of my community members as today's reflection.
We need civically engaged Muslims to tackle these issues from all fronts. We need organizers and activists, daring demonstrations and diplomatic dinners. We need Malcolm Xs and Martin Luther Kings, Pauli Murrays and Ella Bakers.