Muslims and Peace

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By Tom Liotti, Westbury Village Justice

Dr. Faroque Ahmad Khan, a founder of the Islamic Center of Long Island, is an American Muslim leader with a big problem He has uplifted the image of Muslims here in the United States. He has deservedly received many awards, including the 2014 Community Service Award from the Long Island Council of Churches. He has supported inter-faith dialogue. The Center has been a positive force in the community which has striven to increase understanding among different faiths. Dr. Khan has led the way in furthering that understanding and reminding us of the freedom of religion which has been a part of our Constitution since 1791. That mission was accomplished long ago but the bigger problem is the blame that all Muslims receive for 9/11; worldwide unrest and terrorism. These are unfair generalities of course, but the non-violent Muslim Community must take more steps to oppose violence if they have hopes of changing their image at least here in the United States.

Overcoming the guilt associated with Muslims for 9/11 and global terrorism is a formidable task, possibly an insurmountable one. Removing that blame and creating peace throughout the world is a far bigger problem than anything faced by Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Certainly any American seeking world peace will not receive the warmest reception from Muslim extremists yet Dr. Khan should receive Ambassador status and diplomatic credentials to further that goal. To whatever extent he is successful in promoting worldwide peace and a curtailment of violence wherever it occurs, he should be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Korea, the Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and Syria all need the efforts that peacemakers can bring to the table. Peacemakers are internationalists like the Dalai Lama and Bishop Tutu — they bring something more to the table of peace because of their global ethnicity and race. They are not merely Americans. Dr. Khan is that type of a leader.

We are on a course of self-destruction worldwide if we do not give leaders like Dr. Khan the credentials to speak for world peace. We are failing. Extremists and terrorists are gaining more ground each day. We are responding with more violence and they are reciprocating. War is not a solution particularly if it is a religious war. Tolerance and peace are solutions but the power grab must end. So must revenge. It needs to be replaced by forgiveness.

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Thomas F. Liotti is an attorney in Garden City and Village Justice in Westbury. He is also an adjunct professor of litigation in the legal studies department at Nassau Community College.

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