Washington, 26 Ramadan 1437/02 July 2016 (MINA) – US Defence Secretary Ash Carter told attendees of the Pentagon annual Iftar dinner that Muslim American soldiers and civilians “play a critical role” alongside their colleagues of every faith and background, KUNA reported.
“This is particularly important as we work to counter the insidious influence of organizations that seek to subvert the meaning of Islam to inspire violence and destruction,” he said according to a Pentagon statement released on Friday.
Paying homage to American Muslim service members during Ramadan, he described them as “the most powerful argument against the twisted ideology” of terrorist groups that “seek to hijack faith in order to promote their brand of evil.”
Joining Carter and an international audience at the iftar were Army Secretary Eric Fanning, Imam Zia Makhdoom of Alexandria, Virginia, and Pentagon Chaplain Army Col. Kenneth Williams.
Carter said Muslim-American service members and their families serve in the footsteps of extraordinary Muslim American veterans in the audience, including Sheikh Nazeem Abdul Karriem, who fought on Normandy beaches during D-Day, and Imam Ghayth Kashif, who fought in the Korean War and still finds ways to serve today.
“Those who serve today also follow the legacy of our fallen heroes, brave Muslim Americans like [Army] Specialist Kareem Rashad Khan, who died serving our nation in Baqouba, Iraq. To his mother Elsheba, I want thank you for honoring us with your presence,” Carter said.
“The Muslim Americans who now serve our nation in uniform — as well as the many more who support the mission in a civilian capacity — play a critical role … alongside their fellow service members and colleagues of every faith and background,” the secretary added.
He also condemned the attack in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this week as “an attack on us all,” and vowed that “the people of the United States stand with the extraordinary people of Turkey at this difficult time.” (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)