WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — Meet some home grown followers of Islam who are not taking the hate and suspicion about their faith quietly.
Talib Shareef is Imam at the Masjid Muhammed Mosque in DC. He was born in New York and raised in North Carolina; a convert to Islam like many of the men and women who come here the required five times day to pray.
The Pew Research Center says Muslims are the fastest growing religious group in the world. The migration of Muslims and the impact of violent extremist groups have put this group and their Islamic faith at the center of political and social debate.
An uncle who saved Shareef’s mother and probably young Talib from a violent step father introduced him to Islam.
“I love this man, this is my mentor,” says Talib Shareef. “I still don’t have that father figure in my life so he is that for me. I started going with him to what was called at that time was called, The Temple.”
He started going w him to the Temple in the 1980’s he made another big decision that would impact his entire life. He joined the United States Air Force. Talib Shareef served in the military for 30 years.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning for him or the military.
“I needed a place, Muslims pray where there are no images and they didn’t have anything,” says Talib Shareef.
He helped start the first American Muslim Mission Office of Military Affairs. He retired from the Air Force as a Chief Master Sargent E3.