‘Reassurance’ from a Muslim Marine
By Mohammad Zafar, Engage Minnesota
My name is Mohammad Zafar and I served honorably as a United States Marine. I am a Muslim.
When I read the January 28 commentary, “America’s Muslims need to reassure us,” in the Chanhassen Villager, I was confused and disappointed. The writer makes several false accusations and inaccurate statements about my religion, Islam, and those who practice the faith, Muslims.
My religion dictates that I follow the law of the land that I live in. It teaches me to not only tolerate free speech, but to embrace differences among us.
My holy book, the Quran, states: “We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another (not that ye may despise each other). Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.” [49:13]
In Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon, he said: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
My faith promotes equality between the sexes and has done so long before the women’s rights era- giving women the right to vote, to seek an education, to rule, to work, to be businesswomen and judges and whatever they choose. My teenage daughter is a confident, strong, smart young woman who boxes and wears the hijab.
I served this country to uphold all of our freedoms. As Marines from all over the United States, we respected each other and learned about different faiths and cultures. In boot camp, my senior drill instructor included me as a prayer leader so all faiths were represented. I was treated with dignity and fairness in the field by both my leaders and those that I led. This is the example we should all emulate.
I encourage those who have questions about Islam or Muslims to visit your nearest mosque and meet your Muslim neighbors. We only fear what we don’t know.
Mohammad Zafar, a US Marine Corp veteran, exemplifies a veteran who is giving back to his local community by working to promote a better understanding of the Muslim community and building bridges between Muslims and other Minnesota communities. In addition to teaching a Health & Wellness class to Somali youth and adults in Eden Prairie, he created a running event. Through Zafar’s event, Running 30 Miles in Ramadan, he motivated Muslims to run one mile each day during the 30 days of Ramadan. Zafar, who lives in Oakdale, serves and interacts daily with returning veterans, assisting them with the Minnesota GI bill through his job at Metro State.
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