The United States of America is a country founded on religious freedom, established in a state founded on religious freedom, in a city nicknamed the "City of Brotherly Love." Unfortunately, a significant portion of our fellow man appear to have forgotten this lesson, which all of us are taught in grade school. It's all too common to see Muslims in America being discriminated against, and told that they're un-American. Not only is this hateful and intolerant, but it's flat out wrong. Remember, according to the Constitution, even though a majority of Americans follow the Christian faith, religion has no bearing on Americanism. Muslims may make up less than 1% of the American population, but they've helped to play a significant role in the formation of our country into the superpower our country it is today (and the only one on the entire globe, at that). Many of our Muslim countrymen tend to fly under the radar, so this article is dedicated to honoring the contributions of Muslim Americans, both well-known and not, through the years.
1. Peter Buckminster (slave name), aka Peter Salem (c. 1750 - Aug. 16, 1816)
Peter Buckminster was a Muslim slave who, when granted his freedom, enlisted in the Continental army. He is known to have served at the first battles of the Revolution in Concord, as well as at the battle of Bunker Hill. According to accounts of the latter, it was Buckminster who fired the shot which killed British Marine Major John Pitcairn that day. After the battle of Bunker Hill, Peter Buckminster continued to serve the Continental army, reenlisting twice. He served a total of four years and eight months in Colonel Thomas Nixon's 6th Massachusetts regiment. If fighting in the Revolution (and killing a British officer while you're at it) isn't American, I don't know what is.
2. Captain Moses Osman (April 9, 1822 - Oct. 27, 1893)
Originally of Pennsylvania, Moses Osman was a soldier in the 104th Regiment of the Illinois Infantry. Most notably, he was the highest ranking Muslim officer who served in the American Civil War. His body now rests at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois. To be fair, there weren't very many Muslims in the army in those days, but being an Officer in the Union army is pretty dang American.
3. Nicholas Said (1836-1882)
Nicholas Said was an African-born Muslim slave who later served in the Civil War. In 1873, he published an autobiography, The Autobiography of Nicholas Said, A Native of Bournou, Eastern Soudan, Central Africa. It remains one of the most extensive slave narratives ever written, including his travels to five different continents, time spent serving in the Union army, working as a diplomat, and other adventures. He was recognized as one of the brightest minds of his time. Not only was this guy a true American immigrant (much like the rest of us), but he pretty much showed everybody else up.
4. Noor Inayat Khan (Jan. 2 1914 - Sept. 13, 1944)
Born in Russia to an American mother from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a father of noble Indian descent, Noor Inayat Khan grew up in the United Kingdom and France. When World War II broke out, and her family was forced to flee France, Khan and her brother both decided to fight the Nazis. She enlisted in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, a division of the British Royal Air Force. In 1943, she was recruited to the British Special Operations Executive. She served dutifully in France until her capture and eventual death at the hands of the Nazis. She may never have lived in America, but by being the child of an American citizen, she earns that right by default. On top of that, what's more American than fighting Nazis until the day you die?
5. Fazlur Rahman Khan (April 3, 1929 - Mar. 27, 1982)
Khan was a structural engineer and architect, most well-known for pioneering a structural system of frame tubes that revolutionized the process of skyscraper-building. Included in his personal resume are the Sears Tower, the U.S. Bank Center in Milwaukee, WI, and the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Although he died in 1982, Khan's innovations continue to be put into practice for skyscrapers around the world - including on the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, which was finished in 2009. (awkward...)
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (April 16, 1947 - )
First off, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the NBA's all-time leading scorer, with a healthy near-2000 point buffer between himself and the second best. When you're the best point-maker in the history of a sport invented in America, you bet you'll be considered a patriot. Not only that, but when he closed out his basketball career, Abdul-Jabbar became a regular contributor for publications like The Washington Post and TIME. He also has a pretty classy website, which is just the icing on top of his American cake.
7. William Michael Griffin, Jr, aka Rakim Allah (Jan. 28, 1968 - )
Best known by his stage name, Rakim is considered among the most influential MCs of all time, a pretty big deal for American music. His unique style ushered in the "Afrocentric" style that hip-hop became known for in the 1980s, and he was named as the best lyricist of all time in a 2012 ranking by The Source. His openness about his faith also inspired many other practicing Muslim MCs to do the same.
The following four men listed are all Army officers who died the most patriotic deaths possible. Each of them gave their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom and are now buried with their brothers and sisters at Arlington National Cemetery. All four were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
8. Captain Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan (Sept. 9, 1976 - June 8, 2004)
9. Staff Sergeant Ayman Abdelrahman Taha (July 2, 1974 - Dec. 30, 2005)died in Balad, Iraq while preparing a munitions cache for demolition.
10. Major James Michael Ahearn (Nov. 3, 1963 - July 5, 2007)Persian Gulf War. He was nearing his third tour of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom when a roadside bomb blew up next to his truck in Baghdad, killing him instantly.
11. Corporal Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan (Feb. 12, 1987 - Aug. 6, 2007)
Khan was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), based in Fort Lewis, Washington. He only had a few months of service under his belt when he was killed in an explosion while clearing a house. He was granted the rank of Corporal posthumously.