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Muslims are also Americans -- and patriots

In last week's Perham Enterprise Bulletin, editor Louis Hoglund wrote an editorial entitled "McCain's Dignity." In that editorial, Hoglund recounts his experience at a local Republican gathering held on the night of the recent national election.

During that gathering, Mr. Hoglund overheard the following comment from another person in attendance: "We're at war with the Muslims, and now we elect one as president."

There is very little I could ever do to convince the attendee at that Republican gathering that we are not at war with the Muslims and that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. Yes, the Al-Qaeda terrorists, with whom we are at war, are a radical fringe element of the Islamic faith; but Al-Qaeda's philosophy and methods are rejected by most Muslims. And, last I heard, Obama is a Christian.

Even if Barack Obama were a Muslim, this Republican attendee might do well to listen to a fellow Republican, retired General Colin Powell. Says Powell: "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no."

Powell goes on to cite a powerful photo of a mother cradling the Arlington Cemetery gravestone of her son, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. Kareem was an American, born in New Jersey. He was a corporal in the U.S. Army. He received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was 20 years old when he died in Iraq. And on Kareem's gravestone there is no Christian cross. There is a crescent and star of the Islamic faith. Yes, Kareem was a Muslim.

Just this week we honored our military veterans. Let's hope that, as a Muslim, Kareem will be remembered with as much honor and dignity as his American comrades, living and dead, whatever their religious faith.

To view the graveside photo referenced in this letter to the editor:


Thomas Neil Tomporowski, Perham