Robert Salaam: One man’s actions will affect loyal US Muslims

Share
Related Topics

There isn’t a word to describe the heartache, pain, and sheer disgust that I felt when I woke up yesterday morning. A Muslim serviceman can always expect to face questions about his loyalty. When I was in uniform, for instance - a converted black sergeant from New Jersey - a converted black sergeant from New York, Hassan Akbar, turned on his fellow soldiers and murdered two of them.



I served with professionals, and the most I got from my fellow Marines was a few off-colour jokes. But I count myself among the fortunate. I wouldn’t want to imagine what it’s like for Muslims serving now – especially those at Fort Hood. You pray there won’t be any issues. But you can’t be sure.



The actions of this madman cost us, the many Muslims have served this country honourably over the years, so much. I, like them, make no secret of my love of my faith as well as my country and my Corps. Like everyone else, young Muslims want to serve even over the objection of their parents: they want to be part of something, they want to be their bit. Many American Muslim military personnel have honourable discharges; some others gave the ultimate sacrifice, and are buried at Arlington Cemetry. I want to say to Christians: this murderer is no more one of us than the paedophile priest, the abortion doctor killer, or the millions of prisoners behind bars are part of you.



And yet already our military loyalties, our honour, and our integrity are being questioned. Most American Muslims today are going to get up, get ready for work, send their kids off to school, and pray that nothing stupid happens because of their faith. My hope is that the professionalism of most armed forces units will mean that casual jokes and debate will be the norm. But violence is also possible.



Meanwhile, some non-Muslims still believe that an entire religious community shares responsibility for the actions of one guy that we didn’t even know existed until yesterday. No other faith community is taken to task in this manner. I read the blogs and messageboards, and I understand people are upset – but the reaction is disheartening: calls for the expulsions of Muslims from the armed forces, or for a vetting process, or in a few cases for an all-out ban on Islam. So even as I make extra prayers and give Dua, I know that my fellow non-Muslim Americans would love to see me leave my country. I wonder where they would like me to go.



Robert Salaam is a blogger and former US Marine who converted to Islam shortly after 9/11



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Note to footballers: doing the right thing is more than a PR job

Simon Barnes
 

The royal dress code can't cloak Prince Charles

Joan Smith
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin