One of my Sunday musts is to watch NBC’s Meet the Press. It’s not the same without Tim Russert but Sunday would be incomplete without it. I was eagerly anticipating this morning’s edition with guest Colin Powell appearing. The speculation was rampant that he would be endorsing Barack Obama for president. In my local market of Tallahassee, FL, Meet the Press does not air until 11:00 a.m. I know that it airs earlier in other markets. So I had the television tuned into MSNBC to see if it would be announced before I got to see it. And of course, somewhere around 9:15 a.m. it was announced that he indeed did so.
Already knowing what I needed to know I tuned in anyway. As I said, it’s a ritual. But what touched me even greater was the brief story that General Powell told about a fallen young American hero. His name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Kahn. He died on August 6, 2007 from wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. Mr. Kahn was a Muslim. If you noticed in the above picture there was not a cross or a Star of David. It is a crescent, a symbol of the Islamic faith.
What you also see in the photograph is a mother grieving over a lost child. Grieving in the same way that a Christian or Jewish mother would. Grief does not know color. Greif does not know religion. How courageous this young man must have been to enlist in the United States Army considering the anti-Muslim feelings that pervade this country. He put his country ahead of his religion.
The latest statistics that I could find are two years old and out of the 1.4 million service members, about 3,700 are Muslims. That’s a Department of Defense estimate. So the next time you want to disparage the Islamic faith and brand all Muslims as terrorists please remember Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Kahn. He was a Muslim and he died for your right to do so.