In the wake of the New Zealand mosque shootings, Mansoor Shams, a Muslim Marine Corps veteran, made a visit to West Virginia on Wednesday to share his message of unity.
Ever since he started his campaign two years ago, Shams, from Baltimore, Maryland, has been using his platform to counter hate, bigotry, and Islamophobia. He’s led various other initiatives in between, but he continues on because he says, it involves engagement at a ground level.
Prior to this, Shams served from 2000 to 2004, through 9/11 and during the Iraq war.
Following the recent New Zealand Mosque shootings, he hopes to promote dialogue and understanding through deeper conversations.
“To them, I’m probably some sort of an alien and I want to normalize myself that to see a guy with brown skin and a beard who professes a Muslim faith,” said Shams.
He adds, “when they get to go back to their circles, they will say you know what I met a Muslim Marine today. Whatever you’ve been thinking, it’s not really like that. Here, let me explain it.”
Shams has traveled to 25 states, including West Virginia. To learn more about Shams’ initiatives, you can check out his website here.