This week Ori Brafman, the author of General Dempsey’s “Radical Inclusion,” invited me to come to California to speak at the Strategic Broadening Seminar, United States Army at UC Berkeley Extension. It was an honor to be included as a speaker/instructor as part of such an important program. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my many insights and experiences as a proud Muslim American US Marine with the active US Army members who participated. In addition, I also shared some of the experiences from the recent, and very powerful “29/29 Ramadan Initiative” which has garnered nationwide attention.
Today I had the honor to address somewhere between 150-200 senior Enlisted/Officer Marines at Marine Corps University Quantico. These Marines, or shall I say, warriors, “literally” serve (in some way or another) as commanders and/or decision-makers to thousands of Marines under there leadership. Though this was my second visit to Marine Corps Base Quantico, this time it was extremely special, as I had the distinct honor to address a very prestigious crowd of Marines.
I recall as I was ready to get on my way back to Baltimore right after the speech, the President of Marine Corps University, General William Bowers — a man who I’ve especially come to admire and love, and the reason why I was here today at this very special event as his “VIP guest,” looked to me and says, “looks like we’ll probably be seeing you back again.” Hope so General!
Thank you for having me!
Today I spoke about Islam and law enforcement to Baltimore County police officers!
Today I had the honor and opportunity to address 70+ Marines. I shared with them my concerns as well as my thoughts on how we can all play a part in living up to the Marine Corps values of honor, courage and commitment. We talked about improvements the US Marine Corps could make to better reasonably accommodate future Muslim Marine’s so practicing of faith would never be an issue. I also addressed some of the questions as well as the challenges Marine Recruiters face in the 2017 area when it comes to recruiting Muslim candidates! All in all it was awesome to be amongst so many Marines!
I gave a talk at UB on the topic of Sharia vs. Constitution. About 80 people were in attendance. It was followed by a Q/A session which went over the allotted time because students were so engaged!
This Wednesday I gave a talk at Westminster College in Missouri! Initially I had some concerns with going, considering some of the decisions the local government had recently made, but I'm glad I went! I had good dialogue with students and staff alike, who came away with a new understanding of Islam. KOMU 8 local news also covered my talk, you can check out their article here!
Yesterday, I headed to Washington, D.C. to meet with 12 participants on the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) looking at Social Media Creatively Connecting Communities.
Our fruitful discussion centered on efforts to combat Islamophobia and raise awareness about Islam.
I headed down to Atlanta to speak about my travels across the U.S., and how to bring about tolerance in a time of polarization, at Welcoming America's Welcoming Interactive conference.
I spoke before an audience of about 200 local government and nonprofit professions who are concerned about issues related to anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and white supremacist rhetoric and legislation.
On March 30, I got the chance to speak with a small high school class at St. George’s Episcopal School in rural Georgia via Skype.
On Monday, I had the opportunity to speak to students at the University of Baltimore about countering Islamophobia through open, positive dialogue. It was an honor, as always!
This week I had the opportunity to return to the campus of Johns Hopkins University, where I completed my MA/MBA years ago, to kick off the Bloomberg School of Public Health's incredibly important new "Understanding American Muslims" seminar.
If you're in the area, I urge you to support this timely new endeavor. If you're not, don't worry – they livestreamed Wednesday's event, so you can watch this seminar series from anywhere.
You can read more about it here:
Mansoor Shams, a Muslim American veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, invited his audience Wednesday to call out whatever stereotypes came to mind just by looking at him.
When, inevitably, no one did, Shams supplied them himself: "The terrorist. The Bin Laden. The ISIS guy."
Shams, speaking at a Johns Hopkins seminar on American Muslims, challenged everyone to grapple directly with those kind of thoughts rather than flicking them away to the subconscious.
Interested in having me speak at your event or institution?
Get in touch and let's see what we can do.
Last week I had the chance to Skype into a classroom of middle school students in a small town in Iowa – population 3,500. Had a great time talking to these incredibly bright seventh and eight graders! In fact, I'm pretty sure I came away from our discussion having learned just as much as they did.
This weekend, I helped organize an event titled "Veterans and Muslims United Against Hatred" at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Baltimore's mosque.
I had the great honor of speaking alongside Retd. Col. Scott Cooper of Marine Corps, founder of Veterans for American Ideals, an organization I've worked with previously; Sarah Feinberg, U.S. Marine Veteran now working as senior financial analyst at The Washington Post; and AMC Baltimore's own president, Dr. Faheem Younus.
You can read more about this event here.