For this Muslim, the spirit of Veterans Day brings back an early childhood memory. When I was a boy I entered an Islamic prayers competition at my mosque and was awarded a medal. On it read the words, "I shall be ready to sacrifice my life, wealth, time and honor … for the sake of my country." This is a pledge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, America's first Muslim ,organization established in 1920.
There was no discrepancy between the loyalty I was taught in my mosque and the loyalty I was taught in my elementary school classroom, where each day started with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Times have changed since I was a boy. Now, Muslim expressions of loyalty are accused of being mere slogans. As a Muslim American, I honor the courage and bravery of our veterans that was put to the test through war. To this day, I recite that same dutiful pledge I once recited at my mosque enshrining love for country. The moderate, peace-loving, loyal Muslims are still here.
Times have changed, but we haven't.
Dr. Bilal Rana, Ellicott City