“her heart was warm and gay . . . ” Singer Kate Smith popularized this nostalgic song  by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II after the Nazis took control of Paris on June 14, 1940 following the Second World War Battle of France. What time could have been worse than that?
I remember walking those streets in the spring about a decade ago with my Danish “brother” Svend —the museums, Eiffel Tower, cathedrals, cafes, and blossoms. What a beautiful city. Now, it has suffered the horrendous acts of ISIS terrorists. I feel deeply for the Parisians, and for the victims of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and elsewhere.
I also fear another backlash against Muslims in the U.S. I remember President George Bush, following the Sept. 11 attack, in which sixty Muslims died, visiting the Islamic Center mosque in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 17 and meeting with Islamic clerics—after visiting the rescue workers at the Pentagon.
On Sept. 20, he addressed a joint session of Congress and said, “No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.” He stated that Islam is “practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.”
I remember the great contributions to our nation made by loyal Americans of the Islamic faith [see my blog posts: “Funny, you don’t look like a“]— the fifteen thousand Pakistani-American physicians plus thousands of others from India, Egypt, and Africa;
Elias A. Zerhouni, Algerian-born American radiologist and medical researcher who served as head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 2002 to 2008; countless Muslim athletes including Kareem Abdul Jabar, Shaquille O’Neal, Muhammad Ali; jazz musicians Ahmad Jamal, Art Blakey, Yusef Lateef (Cat Stevens); Ahmet Ertegün (songwriter, founder of Atlantic Records, and past chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame); broadcasters Ahmad Rashaad and Fareed Rafiq Zakaria;
businessmen Jawed Karim– co-founder of YouTube–and Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars; U.S. Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson;
approximately 3500 American Muslims currently serving in the United States military, many of whom fought in Afghanistan and Iraq; many fought in the Vietnam War, in which I served and about which I wrote Cologne No. 10 For Men; Muslim cadets and midshipmen in our service academies; and the more than 15,000 Arab-Americans and African-American Muslims who served in WWII with the U.S. Armed Forces . . . The list goes on and on.
In this dark time, as we continue to maintain our vigilance, we must defend American Muslims.