Muslim Leaders Gather and Confront Pressing Issues

November 21, 2004

Source: The Journal News

On November 21, 2004 The Journal News reported, "should Muslims seek to return to Islam as it was practiced 1,000 years ago? Is homosexuality halal (permitted) or haram (forbidden)? These and other debates raged on — though generally in calm, respectful tones — as more than 100 Muslims from across the country came together to attend a three-day conference sponsored by the Asma Society, a New York City-based Muslim nonprofit group espousing religious tolerance and cultural exchange. Still, among all the topics stirring controversy, one issue clearly united the weekend's participants — the pressing need for strong, widely-inclusive, moderate American Muslim leadership. That need is especially pressing now, they said, when the country's Muslims face unprecedented prejudice, as well as previously unmatched interest from outsiders... Coming together at the Garrison Institute, a center for social change perched along the Hudson River, the conference's participants were mostly Muslim graduate students and professionals between 25 and 45 years old. The issues they grappled with yesterday were some of the deepest issues facing their community, and indeed, the world."