Latino USA

Archive for September 8th, 2010

Uncommon Guatemalan, Uncommon Muslim, Common Man

From the top of the World Trade Center towers you felt that you could see the curve of the earth. You knew that you were standing atop a building on an island in one of the world’s largest cities, but you were subtly aware that where you stood was less a point on a map than it was a spot on a globe: a big, curved, diverse world.

By the afternoon of September 11th, 2001 one could sense what felt like a change in the country: a widespread feeling of concern people expressed to one another. There was a palpable sense of caring, of reaching-out.

Much has been written in the nine years since — about the reaction by the White House, about the best way to memorialize those who lost their lives that day, about the efforts to clean up Ground Zero and the Pentagon, about America’s place in the world, and its sense of injury and the case for seeking justice.

Sometimes, perhaps often, in all this talk, there’s an “us-them” dichotomy that lies at the heart of the argument. Many Muslims in the U.S. feel that dichotomy acutely. It’s not uncommon on talk radio to hear people speaking out of a profound ignorance about Islam, about the Muslim experience in the U.S., and about the possibility for dialogue, coexistence, and peace in our own country, founded on a principle of religious liberty.

Watch video from C-SPAN of an interfaith gathering to promote religious tolerance and the cessation of anti-Muslim discrimination.

Religious leaders gathered in Washington this week to decry the plan of a Gainesville, Florida pastor to burn copies of the Qur’an on the anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. Politicians, military leaders, and other citizens joined in the condemnation. As we take time to memorialize those who were killed nine years ago, we do it as a nation distracted, conflicted, and seemingly ill-at-ease with the place Islam has in the American landscape.

Meet David Gonzalez

An uncommon Guatemalan, an uncommon Muslim, a perfectly common man.

David Gonzalez defies stereotypes and expectations. At a time when America is struggling to accept Islam, Gonzalez sticks out as someone who became a Muslim because he found it to be a religion of peace. Gonzalez is Guatemalan and was raised in a Roman Catholic household, as many in that country are. But he was unsatisfied by his spiritual experience and had questions that remained unanswered. His quest for answers led him to Islam, which he has embraced.

Recently, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community gathered outside Washington DC for a conference. The Futuro Media Group’s Yasmeen Qureshi met David Gonzalez at the conference, and asked him to tell us his story of being Latino and Muslim.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

The Narcicyst

Canadian MC The Narcicyst has had a foot in the East and West his whole life. Born in Dubai to an Iraqi family, he moved to Canada at a young age, and has gone back and forth several times. Narcy uses his music as a political tool, but as he’s grown and matured, his work has also become more personal. He talked with Maria Hinojosa about how we can get past our fear of “the other.”


Click the image to the right to watch the music video for The Narcicyst’s song “P.H.A.T.W.A.”


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Narcy has been working with photographer Ridwan Adhami and photographers all over the world to depict the diversity of Islam. Their work will has been incorporated into a new video titled “Hamdulillah,” directed by Adhami. You can watch the video here and read more about the collaboration on Narcy’s blog.

Y Ahora Algo Un Poco Mas Personal…

Maria reflects on the lessons of summer learned with her family.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

In Los Angeles, Protests of LAPD Shooting of Day Laborer

The killing of Manuel Jamines, on Sunday 5 September, by an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department sparked several protests throughout the week. Jamines, an immigrant from Guatemala, was working as a day laborer. Frank Stoltze of Southern California Public Radio has this report.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

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