Religious freedom is one of the fundamental principles of American civic life. We are Americans no matter how we worship, and we obey the law and when the time comes, we sacrifice…
Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan was a 20-year-old Stryker soldier based at Fort Lewis. He was killed last August in Baqouba.
Khan was a Muslim. And Powell made a correlation to the decorated Stryker Brigade soldier and Obama in context of negative Republican campaigning somehow insinuating that Obama is a Muslim.
In a moving statement, Gen. Powell posed the rhetorical question to Meet The Press host Tom Brokaw:
â€œI’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.”
Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian.
But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America.â€?
Politicians and talk show entertainers who like to talk tough from the safety of the US are not walking the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan trying to engage the population in fighting terrorists. When they disparage the religion of people we need to enlist as allies, they paint a target on the backs of our troops. They undermine pro-American Muslims, and they disregard the principles that Americans have lived and died for. They undo the efforts of Christian missionaries over decades and give ammunition to extremists who want nothing better than a religious war.
Colin Powell was speaking as an experienced soldier. When we have been hurt, lashing out blindly is not a strategy. There are violent extremists who have to be stopped. Bigotry against our fellow Americans and against a whole world religion is a dangerous distraction, and not in our best tradition.