Promoting unity among people of faith (or no particular faith) in the 21st Century.

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Commentary: Ali best defined by his Muslim faith

June 12th · Focolare, Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Interfaith, Islam, Media, New Africa of the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach Post

FRIDGE MAGNET GARDEN: Kentucky Derby? Worth a visit. Muhammad Ali Center? A must visit.

FRIDGE MAGNET GARDEN: Kentucky Derby? Worth a visit. Muhammad Ali Center? A must visit.

Appreciation to my Palm Beach Post colleagues for publishing over the years my occasional columns on Al-Islam and Muslims – whether explaining Ramadan or the Hajj, or the fact that Islam by definition rejects terrorism, or this essay today, whose text also appears below. In an era of so much misinformation – some due to simple lack of knowledge, some clearly intended to mislead – much more light must be shed. Such as that Muhammad Ali did not exist in a vacuum; he was part of a universal movement for humanity that continues, if only we would see.


My favorite recent memory of Muhammad Ali comes not from the 1996 Olympic Games, but rather our 2003 annual Islamic Convention in Chicago led by Imam W. Deen Mohammed.

I’ll never forget how Ali labored through his Parkinson’s up the steps to the platform stage, sat with other dignitaries in support of his friend the imam, then after perhaps 45 minutes worked his way back down, where he was love-mobbed. It was a distraction from the ongoing program, but Ali had accomplished his mission. He obviously had wanted to send an unmistakable message in that post-9/11 America: This is my community, and this is my imam.

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Noted Imam Condemns ‘Atrocious Acts of ISIL’

September 8th · Extremism, Interfaith, Iraq, Islam, Muslim, Prophet Muhammad

Needed to be said. Have been meaning to post this via email from my friend and colleague Imam Talib Shareef, United States Air Force retired, and national imam/chaplain, Muslim American Veterans Association, who also recently provided the opening prayer for the U.S. Congress:

Leader of The Nation’s Mosque Condemns the Murder of Steven Sotloff by ISIL/ISIS

Imam Talib Shareef (L) of Washington, D.C.'s Masjid Muhammad, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, with Paul Monteiro of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Imam Earl El-Amin of the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore, MD., during The Mosque Cares' 2011 Annual Muslim Convention in Tinsley Park, IL.

Imam Talib Shareef (L) of Washington, D.C.’s Masjid Muhammad, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, with Paul Monteiro of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Imam Earl El-Amin of the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore, MD., during The Mosque Cares’ 2011 Annual Muslim Convention in Tinsley Park, IL.

Imam Talib Shareef, leader of The Nation’s Mosque, Masjid Muhammad, located in Washington, D.C. released the following statement in response to the recent reports on the murder of American Journalist Steven Sotloff:

Pending authentication in the wake of yet another horrific killing by the criminal terrorists group ISIL/ISIS, we extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Steven Sotloff and commend his life of service and sacrifice for humanity. We join the world in strongly condemning ISIL/ISIS for the inhumane, barbaric, cowardly murder of innocent life and their countless acts of extreme violence against humanity. We continue to be outraged and troubled by senseless acts that do not uplift or bring peace to our souls and lives collectively.

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Focolare Word of Life: Forgive

August 10th · Bible, Catholic, Chiara Lubich, Focolare, Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Interfaith, Old Testament, Quran, The Mosque Cares

Focolare Word of Life – August 2014

“Forgive your neighbour the wrong done to you, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.” — Sir 28:2).

One of our dear friends among the Focolare Movement — founded and championed by what  might best be described as genuine Christians — just shared their Word of Life for August 2014.  Can we meet its challenge, humanity? More:

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There is no way to Peace…

August 9th · Interfaith, Mideast

…Peace is the way. A good friend appends her email messages thus. Her sentiment seems no less appropriate today. In that spirit, some notable links that others recently have brought to my attention:

Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa’s review of Jacob Nammar’s Born in Jerusalem, Born Palestinian:

A family history firmly rooted in Jerusalem’s soil

Also, her review of Miko Peled’s The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine:

Book reviewMiko Peled sets the record straight on Palestine’s dispossession 

Plus, thought-provoking Peled video:

Miko Peled, Seattle

And from his website:

This blog is dedicated to tearing down the separation wall and transforming the Israeli apartheid system into a secular democracy, where Israelis and Palestinians will live as equal citizens. As an Israeli that was raised on the Zionist ideal of a Jewish state, I know how hard it is for many Jews and Palestinians to let go of the dream of having a state that is exclusively “our own.”  The articles, the stories and the pictures in this blog are meant to make a single point: For the good of both nations, the Separation Wall must come down, the Israeli control over the lives of Palestinians must be defied so that a secular democracy where all Israelis and Palestinian live as equals be established in our shared homeland.

The State of Israel today is governed in a way that cannot be sustained…

Miko Peled | Tear Down the Wall…

— C.B. Hanif

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Awesome Ramadan memories…

August 8th · Golden Rule, Hajj, Islam, Muslim, Prayer, Quran, Ramadan

… from Mecca (video). Just a few million of the world’s nearly 2 billion Muslims standing to observe the late-night Taraweeh prayer this past Ramadan. Pretty good English translation of the Arabiyya, for friends seeking to gain a sense of the beauty. I especially love the scenes in which the camera focuses on the Quran page from which the imam is reciting, then pans out showing some of the enormity of the crowd. Note that on this night, the completion of the 30-day Quran recitation is marked with a special prayer for humanity. A rough similitude to all this might be the entire world bowing in unity to our Creator, while committing to get up, go forth and practice the Golden Rule. Yes I know, Ramadan has ended. But I can’t let go of these scenes, so reminiscent of the Hajj. I pray to join this ancient place’s visitors again soon.

Meanwhile, one writer’s take on:

Mecca’s changing face matches the needs of its Muslim pilgrims

And for something completely different, I happened across this  look at another slice of Muslim life. (My fashion-designer wife is going to love this.):

Ramadan – Makkah 


The girl in gold, black and white 

And last:

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About The Kaaba »


— C.B. Hanif

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Catching up is good to do

June 23rd · Iraq, Uncategorized

Beneficial knowledge: a tree that never should stop growing.

Beneficial knowledge: a tree that never should stop growing.

Just finished a great year with my Journalism students at Inlet Grove Community High School, plus two before that as managing editor of the South Florida Times. Now summer’s back again, I’m missing my students and the newsroom — so what better to do than pause and give thanks for all the good. It’s also a good time to catch up on missed family and friends, obligations and opportunities, community service and activities. To get in some biking and swimming. And of course, with so much going on — from the regrettable (Iraq. Again.) to the unforgettable (Gooooooooooooooooooooal!) — more writing, editing and reading. I’m back up for air; feel free to be in touch.


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What Would Muhammad Do?

September 23rd · Uncategorized

A handful of hateful zealots have produced a few minutes of rubbish insulting and mocking a person that they say to be our blessed Prophet. Yet we know our Prophet, and we know that what they mock is a figure of their own imagination.    Simply put, these producers of hate don’t know Muhammad like we know Muhammad. These extremists want to lay a trap before Muslims, beginning another cycle of violence that will end with blood on all sides. Let us not fall into this trap.

Nice job, Omid Safi. Thanks for sharing, Imam Jaabir:

How would Prophet Muhammad respond to the anti-Muhammad “film”?


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Celebrating in Harlem, Muslims and Christians recommit to their dialogue

September 8th · Uncategorized

On May 20, an event hosted by Imam Izak-el M. Pasha, gathered more than 500 people in the prayer hall of the Historical Malcolm Shabazz Mosque in Harlem to celebrate this anniversary: Muslims, with imams from various parts of the U.S., Christians and members of other religions, including representatives of Religions for Peace USA. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, gave a heartfelt message encouraging this dialogue to continue. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, and Cardinal William Keeler sent messages. They expressed their appreciation and support for this fruitful dialogue and its enormous contribution for the good of humanity and the two communities … In 1997 Chiara Lubich and Imam Mohammed took the lead, but this year’s event witnessed how two communities have become a tangible sign and proof of the vision of their pact.

I soooo wanted to be there, but although that was not to be, I at least can share this link, as we look forward to seeing our dear Focolare in South Florida again soon.

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Flashback: FCMA’s Fall 2003 meeting in Riviera Beach

September 6th · Uncategorized

When the Florida Conference of Muslim Americans returns to Palm Beach County the weekend of Sept. 28-30, we look forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and remembering others who will be dearly, dearly missed. These conferences (see here, here and here) continue the decades-spanning contributions of the Muslim American students of the late Imam W. Deen Mohammed, along with our friends and supporters of other faiths, in building community ties and promoting excellence to strengthen individuals, families and the greater society.

REMEMBERING RASUL: During the 2003 Fall Conference in Riviera Beach, our dear departed Imam Rasul Madyun, one of America’s most promising young imams, led the Jummah prayer on Friday, and is shown taking a walk after leading the predawn Fajr prayer on the beach.

More scenes:

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11th Annual Family Interfaith Picnic: More wonderful unity hosted by New Africa of the Palm Beaches

April 29th · Uncategorized

With gratitude to our Beneficent and Merciful Creator, let me echo the sentiments of those who called it another truly amazing day. We are thankful to all who traveled great or short distances for the 11th Annual Interfaith Family Picnic hosted by our New Africa of the Palm Beaches group. Thankful to all who contributed great food or other donations of support. Thanks for the reminder that prayer trumps rain. Thanks for our Haitians friends who arrived after church and taught us some invaluable lessons. Particular appreciation to our First UU of the Palm Beaches congregation in the house — er, in the pavilion. To Harold, Hanan and Karimah for that smokin’ fish and all the love through the years. To our Orlando and Melbourne regulars for your steadfast support year in and out — not to mention the spinach patties that always are a hit. Thanks to Guana Malik for all her sacrifice. And a salute to our NAPB team: Imam Jaabir Muhammad, Otis Salahuddin, Baha Muhammad, Sabir Salahuddin, and the member who consistently contributes most: Aneesha Hanif.

More wonderful unity. More wonderful scenes:

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