Muslim Marine speaks at Westminster College

7 months 1 week 4 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
JEFFERSON CITY - Friday was the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, and on Saturday, members of the Jefferson City community... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 10:03:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R- Harrisonville announced the winner of her annual congressional art competition Saturday afternoon. ... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 4:29:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members took laps around the MizzouRec Saturday to raise money for Relay For Life of Mizzou’s main event,... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 3:14:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - For the past five years, Osage Heritage Elementary has hosted a Color Run to raise funds for... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 1:29:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A former St. Louis-area teacher will be on five years of probation for having sex with a... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:43:59 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
UNIVERSITY CITY (AP) — A former St. Louis-area day care teaching assistant has been found guilty of molesting a 5-year-old... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:40:09 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY -- Firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 100 block of E. Ashley St. at 11:08 p.m.... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 6:27:00 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri legislators approved numerous changes Thursday to local elections, including allowing voters to request absentee ballots... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 5:27:13 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - Casey Shoemate, a 26-year-old Miller County sheriff's deputy, died Friday night after colliding head-on with another vehicle... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 10:05:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Retailer Sears will close its Columbia Mall store this summer because the location has become unprofitable. Sears Director... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 8:46:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- A local non-profit organization, Columbia Access Television, hosted a 24-hour film contest that started Friday at 5:30 pm. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 7:13:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - Community members are coming together to help a family who lost their children in a fire get... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 7:10:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – As more and more fraternities face misconduct charges across the nation, the Greek community of MU is looking... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 6:13:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Eric Greitens is remaining defiant in the face of a new felony charge. On... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 5:45:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Children filled school gymnasiums across Columbia for the second day of the Unbound Book Festival. The festival showcases... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:42:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - April 20 marks the day of the Columbine school shooting, which claimed 13 lives. The Columbia Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:26:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A potential fire station project on an annexed lot in southwest Columbia could lead to quicker response times... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:21:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - After the deadly fire in Lake Ozark, officials from the Division of Fire Safety are working to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:01:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
4am 55°
5am 54°
6am 54°
7am 51°