Taking Care of Converts

The Islamic Center at New York University (ICNYU) has a program called Conver(t)sations, which is designed to facilitate communication between born Muslims and converts. The Imam of ICNYU is Khalid Latif and in this video he is moderating a panel of converts who have come together to share their stories.

Born Muslims love to hear conversion stories, but are not so interested in hearing how the convert is doing after he or she becomes a Muslim. Oh, they’re willing to give converts books and pamphlets, maybe even teach them how to pray and the basics of the faith, but my impression is that few born Muslims are aware of how hard it is to assimilate into the Muslim world if you were never part of that world before your conversion.

It is evident in this video that Imam Khalid Latif has a genuine burden for Muslim converts and their difficulties and I for one was glad and encouraged by his sensitivity and empathy. I strongly encourage born Muslims and converts alike to watch at least part of the video. (It’s two hours long, but can be watched in segments.) Imam Khalid Latif makes the excellent point that the Muslim community is too often divided by various factions and that it is imperative that we talk to and try to understand and accept one another if we are to show the world the kind of community Allah means for his followers to develop.

For a written version of the Imam’s message, “Taking Care of Converts,” check out this article which appeared in the Huffington Post on the 20th day of Ramadan.

About Khalid Latif:

In 2005 Imam Khalid Latif was appointed as the first Muslim chaplain at NYU where he began to initiate his vision for a pluralistic future for American Muslims rooted on campus and reaching out to the wider community. Imam Latif was also appointed as the first Muslim chaplain at Princeton University in 2006.

Spending a year commuting between these two excellent institutions he finally decided to commit full time to NYU’s Islamic Center when his position was officially institutionalized in the spring of 2007. Under his leadership the Islamic Center at NYU became the first ever fully established Muslim student center at an institution of higher learning in the U.S.

Imam Latif’s exceptional dedication and ability to cross interfaith and cultural lines on a daily basis brought him recognition throughout the city so much so that in 2007 Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York nominated Imam Latif to become the youngest ever chaplain of the New York Police Department (NYPD). [Source.]

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