(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/10/15) â€“ The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today offered a Veterans Day commentary for publication by media outlets nationwide.
CAIRâ€™s commentary (SEE BELOW), titled â€œHonoring Veterans Through Actions, Not Mere Words,â€ is being offered through ISLAM-OPED, a syndication service designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues.
ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.
CAIR is America's largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group, with offices nationwide. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-744-7726
CAIR ISLAM-OPED: Honoring Veterans Through Actions, Not Mere Words
By Nihad Awad
President John F. Kennedy once said: â€œAs we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.â€Â
Another president, Abraham Lincoln, wrote, â€œHonor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his countryâ€™s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.â€
We can best honor our nationâ€™s veterans through deeds, not mere words.
There are more than 20 million American veterans, many of whom are suffering or in need of assistance.
Veterans make up a troubling share of the nationâ€™s homeless population. A significant portion of homeless veterans suffer from substance abuse or mental health issues, or both.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) afflicts almostÂ 31 percentÂ of Vietnam veterans, more thanÂ 10 percentÂ of Gulf War veterans and 11 percentÂ of veterans of the war in Afghanistan.
AÂ recent NPR report indicated that veterans in prison have high rates of PTSD, which may have resulted in the life difficulties that led to incarceration.
Veterans from recent conflicts also have a higher unemployment rate than veterans of any other era.
Other issues negatively impacting the lives of veterans include traumatic brain injuries received in combat and high suicide rates resulting from the unresolved issues brought on by military service.
Many veterans face family disruptions or financial difficulties because of long deployments or because of the many issues listed above.
It is clear that actions, not just words, are necessary to meet the needs of todayâ€™s veterans. And that means all veterans, whether they fought in wars – like World War II â€“ that received widespread national support, or wars like Vietnam, which faced opposition by millions of Americans.
We should support veterans as people, regardless of the policies that sent them to war.
That support could include contacting elected officials to urge that sufficient funding be provided for veteransâ€™ health care, contributing to programs for homeless veterans and volunteering at the nearest VA hospital or at any organization assisting veterans.
Our nationâ€™s armed forces draw from all communities, regardless of race or religion.
Since our nationâ€™s founding, Muslims fought in every American war, from the Revolution to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have included thousands of Muslim military personnel who served honorably.Â
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While the figures are infrequently reported, since 2006, more than 200 American Muslims have been awarded Combat Action Ribbons.
We thank all those who have served in our nationâ€™s military, but we must move beyond thanks to concrete demonstrations of support for veterans in their often challenging return to civilian life.