Today I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Maryland’s Secretary of State, John Wobensmith. I shared with him a bit about my work as the founder of MuslimMarine.org, and how I personally use education, conversation and dialogue to counter hate, bigotry, Islamaphobia. It was a very fruitful discussion. He’s an amazing man! Oh yeah, he’s also a US Navy Veteran.
Today I had the honor and privilege to sit down with what I think, is probably one of the coolest, down-to-earth Congressmen out there — Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana. I found the Congressman to be extremely humble while at the same time grateful of my work and efforts as MuslimMarine. I took some time to share my thoughts and insights on the many relevant challenges affecting our society and the world abroad. He also offered some perspective. I definitely see us working and collaborating together in the near future!
This July 4th I had the cool opportunity to take part in the Annual Fourth of July Parade in Annapolis! I, along with fellow members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community - including my eldest son, took this opportunity to not only celebrate our Independence Day but also better educate fellow Americans on Islam. We handed out tons of flyers, American flags, balloons, and hats. It was an amazing experience for me personally, to say the least!
What’s one of the coolest honors any Marine could ever ask for? Maybe a seat next to his Commandant? Well, that’s exactly what took place Thursday, June 7th! I had the honor to invite and host the 37th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General Robert B. Neller at my Mosque in Baltimore (Masjid Bait Us Samad). Here are my introductory remarks just before he (the Commandant) took the stage.
Last week I had one of the coolest times a Veteran could ask for — spend time with other US Military Veterans! I have to say, much of the credit goes to Retired US Marine Corps LtCol Veteran Scott Cooper who once again brought together an extraordinary group of Veterans from all branches of service to serve as “Leaders” under Veterans For American Ideals (VFAI).
The mission has been simple, use our voices as Veterans and our unique platform to bring people together! That’s something I can totally resonate with! But it doesn’t stop there, as “Leaders” with VFAI we work together to fight hate, bigotry and islamaphobia across the Nation. In addition, one of our other missions under VFAI has been to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to keep the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) front and center staying true to our word and bringing back to the US those Iraqi and Afghani translators who sacrificed there lives working side-by-side with our Armed Forces to support our mission. All in all, it was awesome to have the chance to spend a few days with my fellow Veterans!
Today I had a cool opportunity to join fellow Muslim Veterans from each of the US Armed Forces at Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) Studios in Silver Spring, Maryland. Yes, the Army, Air Force, Navy and of course, “the few, the proud, the Marines” were all represented! We reflected and shared our unique experiences as Muslim Americans in the Armed Forces. Without a doubt, I can honestly say that each of one of us enjoyed serving and being part of that 1% of the US population that raised its hands to defend this great Nation against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” We all agreed, it was very “Muslim” of us to have served the Nation we call home.
Today I had the honor to meet the man in charge of Marine Corps University in Quantico, VA - Brigadier General William Bowers. I can say without a doubt, there was immediate synergy as soon as we met each other in his office. General Bowers and I discussed a whole host of issues and challenges that pertain to ever-changing 21st century. All in all, it was a fruitful meeting. I have a feeling we’re going to be working together closely!
Today I spent my time in Washington as part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s “Day on The Hill” Program. As a persecuted group, the Community has always felt a special responsibility to stand by others facing persecution - whether it be Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists - the list continues. This year we focused mainly on Rohingya Muslims, a community being persecuted to the extent of ethnic cleansing under the watch of the Myanmar Government. It was refreshing to be a part of such a delegation, to say the least!