Is there a caliph leading ISIS?  What does that mean?

As we sat in the mosque talking about the differences between the approach of Muhammad and ISIS, our conversation turned to this self-appointed caliph, Al-Baghdadi.  The imam made it clear that Al-Baghdadi is acting from political motives and does not speak for Islam. He referenced hundreds, or possibly thousands, of Islamic scholars who have rejected the man. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) released a similar statement condemning ISIS and advocating rights of minorities in Muslim majority countries. You can see that statement at this link S2S statement on rlgs minorities.  This four minute video is just part of an insightful conversation.  For more videos click here.

Imam Wasif, with other Sunni and Shia Muslim leaders in Louisville, called a press conference on August 25, 2014 to condemn the actions of ISIS. Afterwards we sat in his mosque and I asked some clarifying questions. In this video Imam Wasif says that press statements are necessary because people are not sufficiently informed about Islam. He references respected Islamic scholars that oppose ISIS and explains how orthodox Islam opposes groups like ISIS. Dr. Muhammad Babar also wrote an editorial for the Courier-Journal on this same topic.

Imam Wasif shares how you might approach your Muslim neighbor. In the video he mentions food being “halal.” This word means “permitted.”  As a general rule this means avoiding all forms of pork and alcohol including gelatin and some types of vanilla that are made with alcohol abstracts. I have been with Muslim friends who meticulously read the ingredient labels in the grocery store. Other Muslim friends want to go to restaurants that serve halal food.  Usually though, if no halal meat is available, our Muslim friends will opt for a vegetation dish. Here is a site that gives some more information on halal foods.

Imam Wasif Iqbal and I have been friends for a couple of years.  He agreed to help me answer your questions about Islam. This video talks about how we can get beyond surface level conversations and ask the questions that truly help us understand each other.