Saluted in uniform, harassed as a civilian: life as the NYPD's Muslim chaplain

One morning, Khalid Latif was asleep in his bed when he was awakened by two FBI agents. Latif remembers the agents telling him, “You’re just too good to be true, and we want you to know we’re watching you.”

At the time, Latif was an honored member of the NYPD and traveled around the world for the US State Department. He had met with President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and the Dalai Lama. Yet every time he went through an airport, he was searched, questioned, and detained. When Latif asked the TSA agents why, they said, “you’re young, you’re male, and you’re Muslim, and those things don’t go so well together right now.”

For Khalid Latif, this has been his reality in a post-9/11 world.

In his role as Imam at New York University, he currently devotes his life to combat Islamophobia and to create a safe, open, nonjudgmental environment for Muslim students and local community members to come together, worship, and feel that they have a support system.

“The deeply entrenched racism in our country has to be addressed,” says Latif. “And it has to be addressed not for any single minority population, but for the sake of all of us as human beings.”

The above video is another installment of The Secret Life of Muslims, from director Joshua Seftel. The films were created with support from the Ford Foundation, the Doris DukeFoundation for Islamic Art, the New York Community Trust, and Pillars Fund. We'll be releasing more over the coming weeks.