Kareem R. Khan, American Muslim Hero who made the ultimate sacrifice

Posted on October 19, 2008


Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, American Muslim Hero

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.

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.

 [more from the New York Times.]

The most important thing to know, Nisha Khan said, is that Kareem lived up to the meaning of his name.

“Most excellent,” she said.

November 2009 on Kareem R. S. Khan

Please click here to see a CNN interview with Kareem’s mother on Nov 12, 2009 (about a week after the massacre at Fort Hood).

Other web articles on Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan.

1. Arlington National Cemetery Memorial for Spec Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan.

2. TIME Magazine article on Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan.

3. Vetvoice: A fallen American soldier.

2. Spec Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan.

Note from Rafik Beekun: When a Muslim dies, all Muslims who hear of his/her death are to say:

To God do we belong, and to Him is our return.”

We say these words for Kareem R. Khan.

Some other Muslim soldiers buried at Arlington National are:

Finally, First Lieutenant, Ali Jivanjee, of USAF also made the ultimate sacrifice when he died this week in a mid-air collision while conducting training exercises outside Eglin Air Force Base.

For additional information on how Muslim Americans are serving their country, please visit the website of the Muslim Military Members of the US Armed Forces.