July 6th, 2009
11:15 AM ET

Muslim Americans answer the call

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/06/us.muslim.poll/art.obama.poll.gi.jpg caption="President Obama has initiated the United We Serve campaign,a call for all Americans to serve in their communities"]

Eboo Patel
Interfaith Youth Core
The Washington Post

The annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) Convention took place this past weekend in Washington DC. Some 30, 000 Muslims gathered to celebrate the spiritual uplifting and intellectual enlightenment that their faith provides them. Those two themes stood alongside a third crucial dimension of the conference: civic engagement in America.

The typical pattern among immigrant Muslim communities (as is the case for many immigrant groups) was to send their charity back to the countries where their grandfathers were born - Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia. But in the past decade or so, immigrant Muslims have been following the lead of their African American counterparts and becoming increasingly involved here in America. As the American Muslim leader Maher Hathout is fond of saying: "Home is not where your grandfather was born but where your grandchildren will be buried."

Several million Muslims are proud to call America home (a fact illustrated by the theme of this year's convention – "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness") and are actively seeking to make it better through their civic engagement. There were several workshops on civic engagement in America at the convention, each dealing with a different dimension of how Muslims can work with others to improve the society in which we all live.

One of the most powerful visions I heard was from my fellow member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Initiatives, Dalia Mogahed.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Eboo Patel
soundoff (One Response)
  1. chris minck

    We should all just watch Jackson 5 movies for the next 6 months and maybe will wake up and every thing will be ok. I mean thats the only thing thats on the news for 5 straight days now . I guess we can get back to real problems after the custody case for jacksons kids. I bet congress is happy no one is paying attention to them now . They can go ahead and finish screwing up the country while every ones at his funeral

    July 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm |