Muslim Marine speaks at Westminster College

2 months 4 days 23 hours ago Wednesday, September 13 2017 Sep 13, 2017 Wednesday, September 13, 2017 10:01:00 PM CDT September 13, 2017 in News
By: Mackenzie Huck, KOMU 8 Reporter

FULTON - According to a Pew Research poll, 62 percent of Americans have never met a Muslim. Cpl. Mansoor Shams said he finds that troubling, and he is trying to change it.

Shams has been traveling around the country with a sign that says, "I'm a Muslim and a U.S. Marine veteran. Ask me anything."

He made Missouri the 19th state he's visited, stopping by Westminster College Wednesday night to speak about his time in the military and his faith.

Shams joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2000 at the age of 18. He said choosing to enlist was a very natural decision.

"Loyalty to country of residence is part of my faith," Shams said. "It was very Muslim of me to become a Marine."

Shams said enlistment allowed him to understand his faith more.

"We are taught to be positive contributors to society," he said. "I had youth teachers, local presidents, other youth leaders who were helping me out, teaching me what are true Islamic teachings that led me to have a better understanding of my Islamic faith."

Shams said he was worried about coming to Missouri, but knew it was important to speak here.

"In light of recent events, the DACA thing and the travel ban, it definitely was on my mind as I drove here," Shams said. "But it also made me realize how important it is I come and interact with the people of this state."

Ayush Manandhar, the diversity fellow for the Center of Faith and Service at Westminster, said he invited Shams to speak in hopes of opening a dialogue between people.

"We live in a country of divisions," Manandhar said. "We don't always understand each other. I chose Corporal Shams to speak because he has respect as a marine, but sometimes you don't get respect as a Muslim. I wanted to have someone like him, who can speak out and people respect him."

Manandhar said the way people frame their questions can be wrong, but it isn't wrong to ask questions.

"We don't ever ask someone who is in the Army, 'Oh, are you a Christian first or an American?' We don't ever ask about their faith. There's a double standard there with Islam. People ask 'Are you Muslim or American?' and the truth is you can be both."

Manandhar and Shams both said they hope audience members took away a new understanding of the Islamic faith and will begin to have conversations with people who are different from them.

Shams said he wants to be a resource for people.

"Send me an e-mail, call me, reach out. I am happy to answer any questions people may have," he said.

Contact information is on Sham's website.

Shams will be in Kansas City, Missouri, and Topeka, Kansas, Thursday.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Dozens of people came out Saturday for the eighth annual Fall Into Art show at Parkade Plaza. ... More >>
15 minutes ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 5:19:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
HARRISBURG, MO - A warm bed, a hot meal, and hugs from a loving family member are common enough memories... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 3:00:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - Two Osage Beach residents were pronounced dead early Saturday morning following a single-car crash late Friday night.... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 2:54:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Macon man and two others were hospitalized Saturday morning in one of two crashes that occurred... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 2:24:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – New blood pressure guidelines mean nearly half of adults in the U.S. that did not have high blood... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 2:12:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officials are testing for asbestos among the debris left from a massive St. Louis warehouse fire.... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:17:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor will not file criminal charges against a Southwest Airlines pilot arrested after Transportation... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:07:54 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man is facing charges for allegedly shooting a mechanic in a dispute over... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:59:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Christmas holiday begins this weekend at Union Station in Kansas City. The station... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:55:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The state of Missouri is looking for input on how to spend $41 million from... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:41:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Holiday Festival is giving local vendors a platform to support mid-Missouri charities this weekend. The Holiday... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 11:42:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police and fire department units responded to reports of an overturned car at Grayson Cottages early Saturday... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:53:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in Continuous News
CAMDENTON - The place a man envisioned as his retreat away from the hustle and bustle of regular life now... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:05:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Shots were fired in downtown Columbia early Saturday morning in an area typically packed with late night celebrants.... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:49:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - One person was hurt in a crash on Stadium Boulevard at the intersections of East Pointe Road and... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 9:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center off Providence Road caught fire Friday night. A division chief said crews... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 8:19:52 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Each of Missouri’s counties are slating new council members for their MU Extension County Council. The councils... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 6:52:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be putting "all available troopers" on the roads over Thanksgiving week. ... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 5:58:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
6pm 44°
7pm 43°
8pm 42°
9pm 41°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:30p
College Football
6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
6:30p
Wheel of Fortune
5:00p
Sheriffs El Dorado County
5:30p
Sheriffs El Dorado County
6:00p
The Cleveland Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Will & Grace
7:30p
Superstore
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld