Muslim Marine on mission to end negative stereotypes about Islam - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Muslim Marine on mission to end negative stereotypes about Islam stops in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Marine on a mission to end negative stereotypes about Islam made a stop Tuesday in Louisville. 

Mansoor Shams is a veteran from Baltimore, Maryland, who is traveling all over the country with a sign that reads, "I'm a Muslim and a U.S. Marine. Ask anything."

He stood at the corner of 4th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard on Tuesday to answer questions from Kentuckians. 

"Sixty-two percent of Americans have never met a Muslim," Shams said. "I want them to get to know me."

While his sign emphasizes his faith and his service, he thinks his time as a Marine is what gets the most reaction.

"Because of my status as a U.S. Marine, perhaps I could be even more effective in engaging conversations," hes aid. "Perhaps sometime people only talk to me because I wear that Marine Corps hat."

For passer-by Kayla Gallahar, that's what got her attention.

"Religion? It's OK. I fully accept it. I'm a Christian myself, but Muslim? He served our country, so I'm grateful," Gallahar said.

Once people are willing to stop and talk about his service, it opens the door for Shams to talk religion.

"I just want to make sure I don't get put in the same bucket as ISIS," Shams said. "ISIS are bad people. I get that. I'm not ISIS."

In addition to spending time downtown, Shams also spoke at the University of Louisville on Tuesday night. After his stop in Kentucky, he's headed to Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, giving back to his country, this time out of uniform, one question at a time.

"It's an uphill battle, one person at a time," he said.

Shams also answers questions via social media. You can connect with him at muslimmarine.org.

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