Terrorism? Women’s Rights? Islam in America? Muslim Veterans Speak Out

When it comes to terrorism, US foreign policy, US military operations, the true nature of Islam and the extent of Islamic radicalization, there are no shortages of opinions. As a survivor of the 9/11 attacks and a former US soldier, I certainly had my own. But when it came to discussing Islam intelligently, I had more questions than answers. Frustratingly, most interviews I’ve read or seen were apologias for Islam; of course, a few were reflexively anti-Islamic shoutfests.

So it was with an eye towards conducting a challenging, clarifying conversation that I asked Sayed and Deen, two Muslim-American veterans, to sit down and talk with me. We bonded quickly, the way soldiers do, over jokes, bullshit and some shared bitching.  I was impressed with their thoughtfulness and their passion. But our goal was understanding, not agreement.  I found, in their answers, cause for both optimism and concern. This interview is hardly the final answer on many of these subjects — we spoke for three hours and we could have spoken for twelve.  Originally published earlier this year in nine installments, the hope is that we’ve at least managed to shed a little more light than heat on a range of subjects that sorely need it.        

— Christopher Paul Meyer

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