BALTIMORE – An American Muslim marine and war veteran has been travelling around the country with a sign that says, “I’m A Muslim US Marine Ask Anything,” serving as a self-appointed ambassador of his faith.
“There’s a lot of assumptions that are made, unfortunately, when people see a Muslim,” Mansoor Shams told NPR on Tuesday, January 24.
“But what I found is that the conversation, the dialogue, has for the most part led to something very fruitful.”
Shams is a veteran, who served in the US Marines from 2000 to 2004. He is a small-business owner and serves as a Muslim youth leader.
Touring the country, he said the most common questions are related to the Islamic stance on Shari`ah law, women’s rights, ISIS and homosexuality.
Despite of facing many negative misconceptions, he still believes that conversations have led to something positive, making people open to ask and know more about Islam.
“To me, even one person makes a big difference. Because now when that person goes out to his circle of friends, and if there is some anti-Islamic, Islamophobia sort of environment, I know that he will speak up in that moment and say, “You know what? No. Let’s not paint everybody with a broad brush,” Shams said.
“So I don’t feel my efforts are wasted in any way. I think if I get to make a difference or change the thought process of one individual, I feel very satisfied.”
Shams believes that though Trump’s presidency has created “a lot of stigmas”, Islamic faith “teaches me that loyalty to your country of residence is a part of your faith.”