StandWithUs, February 7, 2003
As a human being, as a Muslim, as an imam.  I am appalled at the statements that have come out of Iraq regarding the tragedy of the space shuttle.  No one doubts that the astronauts were representing the entire human race; putting their lives in jeopardy for our betterment.  Their deaths are what, to any Muslim, exemplifies true martyrdom.

This is a time when all humans should unite in grief over the loss of our finest...  but certain nations have taken it upon themselves to gloat over this disaster.  AND from every action we learn something.  We learn that there are enemies of humankind out there, and that like a cancer, they must be dealt with. 

I cannot speak on behalf of all Muslims, nor can I extend sympathy on their behalf -- for I too am in grief.  TO me, as a person of Indian heritage, an Indian woman astronaut was testimony to the progress the people of the land of my ancestors have made.  To me as a father, I cry when I think of the breaking hearts of the children of Colonel Ilan and of his brave colleagues.  But I can speak on behalf of my family, and I extend our sincerest, heartfelt sympathies to the Jewish people on the loss of one who is honored in this world, and surely, in the one to come.  I extend our sincerest, heartfelt sympathies to Israel on the loss of a role model of humankind.  Colonel Ramon is dead in body -- but his memory will live on. 

Khaleel Mohammed
Kraft-Hiatt Postdoctoral Fellow, Brandeis University
StandWithUs Websites:  www.Standwithus.com and  www.standwithusCAMPUS.com
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