[The following speech, delivered at the Korean Memorial on Veteran's Day exemplifies the rewards of diversity and inclusion of all of American's minorities.]
With the Name Allah, Merciful Benefactor, Merciful Redeemer
This day, Nov. 11, 1998, we, the members of the Muslim-American Veteran Association have come to commemorate this occasion honoring scores of Muslim-Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for the defense of their families, their extended communities, their ummah (religious affiliations) and the land of their birth and citizenship.
May Allah grant them forgiveness and raise them in honor for their struggles to uphold the principles of honor and dignity, even as they faced difficulty, discrimination and were often unsung as their performed their heroic tasks, protecting Americans everywhere. In no small way, their efforts, unseen and unrecognized, has galvanized the human spirit of justice, peace and order for all standing armies and states around the world.
Many have asked, why were they to make the ultimate sacrifice? Such questions are not unusual, because heroism is seldom able to be understood, except by those who have come to know that the rewards of honorable sacrifices and martyrdom, especially in the Way of Allah, are doubly rewarded in the Jinnah or the life to come.
Because of their sacrifices, the US Military establishment has begun to open its doors to the Muslim scholars and leaders in their ranks and the consequences are certain to be seen in the days to come. The Principles and teachings of Islam on the issues of War and Jihad, and the conduct of the soldier in peace and war are the most excellent ever given to mankind. Such principles are enunciated in the Quran and in the Life of Prophet Muhammad,
whose campaigns are historically recorded as the most civilized in the history of great military establishments.
Today, Muslim Chaplains and Muslim scholars are in position to offer wise and sincere advise to the Joint Chief of Staff and to the Presidency, and the matter of warfare become more and more complicated and were diplomacy has taken an heightened role in the resolutions of conflicts. Also the Muslim input is vital in today's emerging conflicts of cultures, religions and nationalities.
Allah has said to all Nations, "We have made you tribes and families, that you may come to know one another; the one most honored is the one most careful of his duties."
So we have come to honor those who have given their life for these honored principles.
Let me now enumerate some of the principles that are inherent in the development of the young minds of any society and the language of the Quran that pervades these principles of conduct.
To make a personal reference, I remember as a youth, joining the cub scouts. As I entered my teen years, I joined the boy scouts. I can tell you that these programs for the youth, or others like them are essential for the development of young into decent, honest human beings. As a scout spoke:
"On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the laws and to keep myself physically strong, mentality awake, and morally straight. And as I began my pursuit for the Eagle Scout Badge, I spoke more forcefully. I testified that "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent."
At such time, I was unaware that these were the essential
Principles of Islam, indelible established in the human soul by Allah, the One, the
Mighty, and the Wise---Creator of Allah.
When I entered the Air Force in the year of 1951, I spoke: AF14404535 Sir!
"I will take charge of this property and all in view. I will walk this post in a military manner, being always on the alert. I will receive and pass on to the sentinel who follows me, all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day and non-commissioned offers of the guard only. Sir."
And so, with the training through language and actions, I became
thus inclined to seek out a culture and a Deen or religion that was based on those
principles and without any contradictions. Naturally I found these principles of my
religion of Christianity at the time and appreciate what I received from my parents and my
community at the time. When I encountered Islam, however, I found in this Deen (Way of
Life), a heightened respect and application for these principles. I found not only a
confirmation of what had gone before, but a greater avenue of expression and application.
If I may quote from the book, "Islamic Ethics and Personal Conduct," Among the character traits mentioned for a Muslim are "good intentions and honesty," "Keeping trust and acting with compassion," "maintaining self control under all circumstances," " being fair and just with friend and foe alike," "exercising good conduct and speaking straight to the point," "being kind and gentle, yet firm and fair." Most of all, Speaking the Truth.
So today, we, the Muslim Veterans, offer to the protecting forces of this land, our commitment to speak the truth, to stand with honor and to uphold the principles of Security, Truth and Justice for all Americans and all citizens of the world, everywhere.
Imam Ghayth Nur Kashif
US Air Force, 1951-1955
11 November 1998.
[Currently, he is the Imam for Masjidush-Shura Washington DC. He was one of the founders of the American Muslim Council and served as in-house editor for the International Institute of Islamic Studies in Virginia, USA. As a writer, his writings have been published in significant publications. He is listed in WHO'S' WHO in Black America and WHO'S WHO among International Authors and Writers. His main interest lies in the rise of Islam in USA and the effects of international foreign policy upon Muslims in USA. He has traveled widely and has had acquaintance with such peer personalities as Malcolm (X) Shabazz, Muhammad Ali and W.D. Mohammad, etc., all early pioneers in the Islamic movements in America.]