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CNN Political Ticker

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More on the Soldier Kareem R. Khan




It's about time somebody finally called the Republicans on their hateful divisive tactics. What makes it even better is it came from a member of their own party. In typical fashion the Republican response was swift and nasty with some Republicans even suggesting that Joe the Plumbers endorsement means more than Colin Powell's. That statement is too stupid to even comment on. So I'll just let that one stand out there on it's own.


Black Man


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On “Meet the Press” today, Colin L. Powell concluded his endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama by referring to the death of a Muslim soldier, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan of Manahawkin, N.J., who was killed in Iraq on Aug. 6, 2007, and whose remains were buried in Arlington.
Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan
He and three other soldiers, including a corporal from Washington Heights, were killed in Baquba after a bomb detonated while they were checking abandoned houses for explosives. They served in the Stryker Brigade combat team of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, based in Ft. Lewis, Washington.
Mr. Khan graduated from Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin in 2005, and enlisted in the Army a few months later, spurred by his memories of the 9/11 terror attacks. “His Muslim faith did not make him not want to go. It never stopped him,” his father, Feroze Khan, told the Gannett News Service in a story printed shortly after his death. “He looked at it that he’s American and he has a job to do.”
Mr. Powell mentioned Mr. Khan’s death to underscore why he was deeply troubled by Republican personal attacks on Mr. Obama, especially false intimations that he was Muslim.
Mr. Obama is a lifelong Christian, not a Muslim, he said. But, he added, “The really right answer is, what if he is?”
“Is there something wrong with being Muslim in this country? No, that’s not America,” he said.
Mr. Khan’s death came to his attention, Mr. Powell said, when he saw a photo essay in a magazine about the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. One picture showed a mother pressing her head against the gravestone of her fallen son in Arlington cemetery. It was the grave of 20-year-old Mr. Khan, engraved with his name, his military awards, and the Muslim symbol of the crescent and star.
“He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could go serve his country, and he gave his life,” Mr. Powell said. “Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.”
Mr. Powell said that he had heard senior members of the Republican Party “drop this suggestion that he [Obama] is a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists.”
“Now, John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that within the party we have these kinds of expressions.”
Mr. Khan had served in Iraq for just over a year, arriving in July 2006. He had sent home pictures to his family of him playing soccer with Iraqi children and hugging a smiling young Iraqi boy in Baghdad, according to his obituary in the Newark Star-Ledger.
He loved rooting for the Dallas Cowboys with his father, and challenging his 12-year old stepsister, Aliya, to video games. He last saw his family during a two-week visit in September 2006.