Inside Air Force Academy Chapel
So-called former Terrorist Walid Shoebat
Nazim Abdul Karriem, 87, a World War II veteran, prays in the center.
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee unveil a plaque to dedicate the new Islamic prayer center at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 6. Photo by Lance Cpl. Kara L. Coonrod, USMC
According to the Marine Corps Core Values Card that I received in Parris Island in 1998, signed, and still carry in my wallet today, Honor means Integrity, Responsibility, and Accountability. Courage means doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons, and Commitment means devotion to God, Country, and Corps.
My card on the back says that Marines:
1. Obey the law
2. Lead by example
3. Respect themselves and others
4. Maintain a high standard of integrity
5. Support and defend the Constitution
6. Uphold special trust and confidence
7. Place faith and honor above all else
8. Honor fellow Marines, the Corps, Country, and Family
Unfortunately, none of this is apparently relevant in a discussion about the US Air Force Academy’s decision to invite three deceivers on their campus to insult and discredit Muslims in uniform. I have been carrying this card everywhere I go for almost a decade as a reminder of my oath and what it means. I was never a recruit or Sergeant in any other branch of the US Military, but I thought that our codes of conduct were at least similar.
It is a great shame and dishonor that the Air Force Academy has chosen to dishonor themselves, their service, and servicemen all over this nation by allowing hate and misinformation to be hosted on their campus. While Marine Corps Base Quantico is building and dedicating an Islamic Center for it’s Muslim service members, the Air Force Academy has decided to play host to frauds who insist that these same service members are evil and want to destroy this nation.
I am greatly ashamed and disgusted with the Academy, because I and many others are the real deal.
We have worn the uniform, served, and defended this nation with great honor and distinction. For a US military Academy to play host to these three people who have done nothing for this country other than monopolize on fear in order to line their pockets is truly disgraceful. These guys spit in the face of every Muslim in uniform here and abroad who risk their lives to protect our country. To allow these guys to spread their hate and dissension between ranks speaks volumes to the Muslims in the Air Force right now. Walid Shoebat, et al. message is that Islam is a violent religion that shouldn’t be trusted.
But I humbly ask, how can we trust so-called former terrorists who have no proof, and if so, why are they even allowed to travel this country if they are responsible for the deaths of so many innocent lives?
Furthermore, Mr. Shoebat and I have publicly debated before. He told me I’m good in spite of Islam, how can that be if I still served honorably as a Sergeant in the Marine Corps? One would think that according to him, that I would have instantly turned against the nation I love so much. If he ever was a Muslim, he surely was and is whatever he is in spite of Islam. He and others defeat their own argument. If Islam is this static, violent, religion, why is it that only they have been affected by it, yet somehow I and many other Muslims have had no problem being Muslim and earning the title of US Marine. What has Mr. Shoebat done other than get rich by speaking?
Fellow Service members in the Air Force, I ask that you follow the example of the United States Marine Corps and Navy and realize that Muslims are an integral part of what makes our services great. We know and have shown that faith is a catalyst that makes many more dedicated to their oaths. To attack one’s faith especially a fellow member of the armed services and it’s veterans brings a great discredit, disservice, and dishonor toward all that we hold dear and have sworn to protect.
Now we know that the Air Force Academy has been under fire for it’s extreme Evangelical Christian leanings, which is in of itself sad considering the Armed Forces should never elevate one service member over another because of religion, but now was and is a great opportunity to show that you can still hold true to the universality of our shared oath. Denounce your decision and apologize to your fellow service members.
I am a United States Marine, now and forever. I have that Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblazoned on my heart. I still carry my Core Values Card with me everywhere I go and I am a Muslim. There are many like me. I suggest we remember that the next time the idea to denigrate the Islamic faith comes up, which is an integral part of our service.