Muslim Marine speaks at Westminster College

10 months 5 days 22 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
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - 64 years later, a different lake and nearly triple the death toll, the duck boat... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 9:12:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Russian intelligence operatives attempted to hack into the online accounts of staffers on three congressional campaigns in the... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 8:46:27 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — As Charlotte, North Carolina, celebrates being chosen Friday to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, an... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 8:05:32 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A cardiologist who treated former President George H.W. Bush was killed Friday morning in a bicycle-to-bicycle drive-by shooting... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:34:02 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department will move into a new neighborhood over the next few weeks. In July,... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 6:41:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Steedman man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of domestic... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 5:22:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A Missouri man has pleaded guilty in the fatal beating of his 77-year-old grandmother while he... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 3:59:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The FBI is in possession of a recording between President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Michael... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 3:38:16 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY – House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty will resign from the Missouri House of Representatives effective Sunday in... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 12:57:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Top Stories
COLE COUNTY — The Cole County Sheriff’s Department responded to possible weapons violation on Thursday night. When the officers... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 11:47:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in Top Stories
(AP) - President Donald Trump has indicated that he's willing to hit every product imported from China with tariffs and... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 8:52:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON - A press conference was held Friday morning following Thursday's fatal boat capsizing at Table Rock Lake. As... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:23:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON (AP) — About 300 people gathered in a parking lot outside a tourism business to remember the 17 people... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:16:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON - The recent boat incident that killed 11 and injured seven in Branson isn't the first time Ride the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 2:06:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Thursday evening around 9:00 pm, two cars collided head-on at the intersection of Worley St. and W. Boulevard.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 11:14:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A southern Missouri sheriff and a subordinate with whom he was having a romantic relationship have... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 10:46:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia confirmed Friday the household hazardous waste collection is cancelled. The waste collection was... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 10:16:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- More illnesses have been reported across the United States in two separate cyclospora outbreaks, federal health officials said... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 9:31:35 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
5am 68°
6am 67°
7am 68°
8am 72°