NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - From extremists carrying out atrocities in the faith's name to threats by a presidential candidate to restrict Muslims from coming to the United States this is truly a difficult time for Islam and its followers.
Few religions are under the microscope Islam finds itself in these days, yet life in New York City, which includes more than half a million Muslims by some estimates, goes on. Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali are amongst those who made New York a focal point for Islam's introduction in the 1970s.
Sitting down in the mosque at the Islamic Cultural Center, Imam Ali Mashhour told Fox 5 the Quran teaches New York Muslims to be empathetic to others, regardless of their religion, making it a kinder, more thoughtful city.
Imam Mashhour says that in addition to a code of conduct -- whether it be within families, or with strangers -- Islam focuses on improving the individual, who in turn lifts the city by lifting themselves.
One example, while nationally about 7 out of 10 who serve prison time end up going back. The imam points out those who find Islam fare far better.
Islam is considered the world's faster-growing religion. The imam believes Islam's growth in New York makes it a safer place while also adding diversity and a different voice to the city.
Asked how Islam's role is this city compares to that of the other religions, the imam said there isn't a big difference; we're all on the same track, all citizen members of this city.