Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Posts Tagged Pakistani American

Honoring Muslim American Veterans on Memorial Day

Craig Considine

Ph.D. candidate, Trinity College Dublin; Film director, ‘Journey into America’; Interfaith activist


Honoring Muslim American Veterans on Memorial Day

Posted: 05/26/2013 5:57 pm




On May 27th, Americans will celebrate Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for the men and women who have died fighting in the United States armed forces. On this Memorial Day, I want to draw attention to the Muslim Americans who have died in battle for the United States. In doing so I hope to honor the Muslim American community for the sacrifices they have made for their country.

In the spring of 2009 I visited Arlington National Cemetery with Professor Akbar Ahmed to stop by the gravestones of Muslim American soldiers who died fighting in the Iraq War. Colonel Martinez of Washington’s Old Guard, a regiment of the United States army, walked us around to see the resting place of several of his “great soldiers,” which made feel humbled and thankful to be in the presence of such brave American citizens.

One of the soldiers was Captain Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan, a Pakistani-American who received a Purple Heart, a military decoration awarded by the President to those who have been wounded or killed in action. Next to Captain Khan was Ayman Abdelrahman Taha, an Arab-American, who also received the Purple Heart for the courage he exhibited in the Iraq War.

The graves of Captain Khan and Ayman Taha show that Muslim Americans have not only been soldiers in the United States armed forces, but that they have also brought honor to the United States for their courage and bravery in fighting for freedom.

Captain Khan and Ayman Taha are just two of the many Muslim Americans who have died fighting for the country that they love. In fact, the history of Muslim Americans’ service in the United States armed forces goes back to the founding of the country in the American Revolution.

Under George Washington, several Muslim Americans served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Bampett Muhammad, for example, fought for the “Virginia Line” between 1775 and 1783. History also denotes a man named Yusuf Ben Ali, referred to by his slave name Joseph Benhaley. Ben Ali was descended from North African Arabs and served as an aide to General Thomas Sumter in South Carolina.

Another man believed to be a Muslim in Washington’s army was Peter Buckminster, who etched his name into American history at the Battle of Bunker Hill by firing the shot which killed Great Britain’s Major General John Pitcairn. After being granted his freedom for freely enlisting in the army, Buckminster changed his last name to “Salem.” Historian Amir Muhammad points out that “Salem” is nearly identical to the word “Salam,” which is the word for “peace” in the Arabic language. Salem later reenlisted in Washington’s army and fought victoriously at the Battle of Saratoga and the Battle of Stony Point, where Washington served as commander.

The presence of these Muslim Americans in several of Washington’s most defining moments suggests that Washington cared little for the religious makeup of his army and cared more for their devotion to freedom and independence.

In reflecting on the Muslim Americans in Washington’s army and my visit to the gravestones of the Arlington National Cemetery, I cannot help but be struck by the symbolism of the religious backgrounds of America’s soldiers. Christians, Jews, and Muslims have all died fighting for the American people. On this Memorial Day, we should remember the power of American pluralism and that our strength as Americans comes in our diversity and not in our differences.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments


Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan 
Captain, United States Army
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense 
No. 561-04 
June 9, 2004 
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs – (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703) 428-0711

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Captain Humayun S. M. Khan, 27, of Bristow, Virginia, died June 8, 2004, in Baquabah, Iraq, after a vehicle packed with an improvised explosive device drove into the gate of his compound while he was inspecting soldiers on guard duty.  Khan was assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Vilseck, Germany.

The incidents are under investigation.

For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.

Funeral For Pakistani-American U.S. Army Officer Held 
June 17, 2004

DCM Mohammad Sadiq and interns from the Embassy of Pakistan Tuesday evening attended the funeral of Captain Humayun Saqib Khan held at the Arlington National Cemetery, says an Embassy press release.

He was laid to rest with full military honors. Captain Khan was a Pakistani American who served in the U.S. army as an ordnance officer, being the senior-most community member to die in Iraq. His colleagues and superiors remembered him for his courage, honesty, sense of humor and grace while in the field, even under pressure. Captain Khan’s colleagues eulogized his exemplary services and praised him for the leadership he provided to his troops.

The Muslim chaplain who led the Nimaz-e-Janaza after the military honors, specifically highlighted the ethnically-diverse group that had come to pay its respects to Captain Khan. He was one amongst the growing number of Pakistani Americans in the U.S. Army.

A ‘Peacemaker’ Is Laid to Rest 
Muslim Soldier From Prince William Tried to Improve Relations in Iraq 
By Michele Clock 
Courtesy of the Washington Post 
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Army Captain Humayun Khan tried to reassure his parents in Prince William County, Maryland, that he was safe — even though attacks on his base in Baquba, Iraq, were almost constant.

“Whenever I talked to him, I started to cry,” said his mother, Ghazala Khan, 52. “He always said to me, ‘Don’t worry. I’m safe.’ “

The last time she spoke to her 27-year-old son was Mother’s Day, May 9. Yesterday, under the hot midday sun, she and her husband, Khizr M. Khan, 53, watched as their middle son was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

Khan’s was the 66th casualty of the Iraq war to be buried on the cemetery’s lush, manicured hills. His flag-draped wood coffin was placed at the end of a row of marble headstones.

On June 8, Khan died in a suicide car bombing at the main gates of his base. Khan, an ordnance officer with the Germany-based 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, had watched as several of his soldiers prepared to do a routine vehicle inspection. His unit was charged with the day-to-day security and maintenance of the camp.

When an orange-colored taxi drove toward them, Khan ordered his soldiers to “hit the dirt,” said his father, who received details of his son’s death from his commanding officer.

Khan walked toward the car, motioning for it to stop, his father said. A makeshift bomb inside it exploded, killing him and two Iraqi civilians in addition to the two suicide bombers. Ten soldiers and six Iraqi citizens were also wounded, the Army said.

Khan’s father said he is proud of his son’s courage but is devastated by the loss.

“Where did his strength come from to face such a danger instead of hiding behind a pole or booth or something?” his father said. “Normally we would try to hide. Had he done that, there would be no problem at all. It may have not been fatal.”

Family members and friends — including Khan’s girlfriend, Irene Auer, 24, of Amberg, Germany — have filled the Khans’ Bristow home in the past week, weeping and praying for the Muslim soldier they will remember as helping to build a bridge between the American and Iraqi people.

During his three months in Iraq, Khan helped put Iraqi civilians to work for $5 an hour patrolling the streets of Baquba under the U.S. Army, his father said.

The program, dubbed the United States-Iraq Sponsorship Program, was intended to help combat high unemployment and provide the local population with security and peace, his father said.

“He was always a peacemaker,” Khizr Khan said, “always seeing an opportunity to give. He always said to the Iraqis, ‘We’re here not to hurt you but to help you.’ “

Auer said her boyfriend enjoyed taking responsibility for others and always respected those around him.

“Whenever I was upset, he always found the right words. He always calmed me down,” she said. “He was perfect. He was the most wonderful person I’ve ever met.”

Khan had hoped one day to go to the University of Virginia law school, his father said. He wanted to be a military lawyer and joined up four years ago in part to pay for law school. His stint was up last month, but because of the Army’s efforts to stem its manpower losses, he was assigned to Iraq indefinitely.

Khan, who was born in the United Arab Emirates, moved to Silver Spring at age 2. He graduated from Kennedy High School in 1996 and the University of Virginia in 2000.

Yesterday, he received full military honors. Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Kerr, an Army chaplain, read a letter written by Khan’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dan Mitchell.

“He died selflessly and courageously, tackling the enemy head on,” Mitchell wrote. “We will not forget him and the noble ideas he stood for.”

Khan was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Sergeant First Class Robert J. Mogensen of Leesville, Louisiana, was also buried yesterday at Arlington. He was a member of the Army’s Special Forces who was killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on May 29, 2004. His funeral was closed to the media, cemetery officials said.

HSM Khan Funeral Service PHOTO

HSM Khan Gravesite PHOTO 
Photo Courtesy of Holly, August 2005

DATE OF BIRTH: 09/09/1976 
DATE OF DEATH: 06/08/2004 

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson

Posted: 16 June 2004  Updated: 4 December 2004 Updated: 21 August 2005 Updated: 18 December 2005 Updated: 13 May 2008 Updated: 11 October 2008

Bronze Star Medal


Purple Heart Medal

HSM Khan Gravesite PHOTO May 2008 
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, May 2008

HSM Khan Gravesite PHOTO 
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 2 December 2004

Family members of slain American Muslim soldiers should testify at Rep. Pete King’s hearings


  • The first witnesses at Rep. Peter King’s hearings on Muslims in America should be the family and comrades of Army Spec. Azhar Ali of Queens.

The witnesses could recount how Ali came to America from Pakistan when he was 14 and died at 27 serving his country in Iraq as a member of New Yorks famous Fighting 69th.

The father, Mubarak Ali, could repeat for the House Homeland Security Committee what he said as he stood beside his son’s plain wood coffin in the Islamic Burial funeral parlor in Queens that March day in 2005.

“When I heard he was going to Iraq for America, I was proud…He died for a great cause.”

The father could also recount how he and his wife were presented at the graveside with a folded flag of their son’s adopted country along with four medals, including a Bronze Star.

The presiding imam, Zameer Sattaur, could recite the prayer he offered, the words springing from the true heart of Islam.


, ,

No Comments