Surge of hate crimes is also bringing Americans together.
The frightening increase in bomb threats against U.S. Jewish centers and schools and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries has triggered an outpouring of support on Twitter from Muslim veterans offering to protect the sites any time, anywhere.
One vet wrote: “If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard, count me in.”
Rashid’s family moved to this country when he was 10, settling in Glen Ellyn. He was in the Marines for five years, with three overseas deployments.
He guesses he was the first Muslim that of half his fellow Marines had met. But he says he feels there’s no conflict between his religion and his adopted nation.
“Loyalty to my country is part of my faith,” Rashid says. “This country gave me freedom.”
A 1984 law in Pakistan targeted his family’s Ahmadi Muslim sect. The law makes it illegal for Ahmadi Muslims to even claim they are Muslims.
Rashid says he was moved to comment on the Jewish cemetery vandalism because extremists in his homeland desecrated the graves of Ahmadi Muslims, including both his grandfathers.
When he saw the news from Philadelphia and St. Louis, Rashid says, he thought, “That’s what happens to our ancestors back in Pakistan.”
Terrorists are “Muslims in name only,” Rashid says.
Ahmadi Muslims here have four mosques in the Chicago area and have created a website, trueislam.com, to counter negative perceptions and extremism.
Rashid says he prays that… read more at http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/mihalopoulos-muslimmarine-a-unifying-force-in-era-of-trump/