A Muslim man is looking to change the stereotypes placed upon his religion by giving out correct information about what it means to be a Muslim by walking the 50 states with a sign that reads, “I’m Muslim and a U.S. Marine, ask anything.”
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Mansoor Shams is a man, a marine, and United States citizen. He served this country with great honor and put his life at risk for his fellow man. Shams is looking to see if he can put to rest any misinformation about the Islamic religion because falsehoods have been growing in the recent years.
In a census taken in 2014, a majority of Americans don’t even know someone who is Muslim; all they know are the preconceived notions of what the media or fellow Americans tell them about Muslims.
“I guess what I want people to know, a guy who looks like me ― brown skin, black beard, the typical stereotype ― is not a terrorist,” he added. “He could even be a U.S. Marine!” Shams said.
Sham’s main goal is to simply inform those with a lack of knowledge and to allow them to make up their own minds thereafter.
The marine, who served from 2000-2004, made his message clear. He isn’t looking for apologies about the misrepresentations of Muslims he’s seen and heard, but instead to bring awareness to another culture and the world.
“The Muslim world doesn’t have a responsibility to apologize. I don’t expect you to apologize for anything white people do, like white supremacy,” he added. “However, if I can help my country, as a citizen, as a Marine, then I think I do have that responsibility.”
He is using his military service to his advantage. In most cases, nobody would listen to another Muslim man but since he has veteran status he commands respect.
Sham’s main objective of the project is to bring his information and message to all 50 states in America. Shams has already made various efforts in states such as Texas, Colorado, Washington, and New York.
He has created a GoFundMe page for any donations to cover travel expenses and housing, but make one thing clear, this isn’t about the money at all.
“The need is greater than any dollar amount,” he said. “I feel like I’m literally serving my country again ― a country that’s clearly quite divided these days ― by uniting us through conversation and getting out of my comfort zone.”