On this emotional day, let us begin with a moment of silence for our comrade, brothers, and sisters who have died fighting for freedom.
My name is fazza saleh. I am a citizen of the u.s., and a veteran, as well as a muslim of palestinian origin.
Furthermore, i am also disabled from injuries i received in vietnam, having served my country for 14 years in the united states armed forces.
I was honorably discharged with full commendations, and have been decorated with 3 bronze star medals for heroism, 2 purple hearts, and a commendation medal as well as a combat infantry badge.
I am proud of my service to my country. I am also proud of my brother, my 2 cousins, and my nephew, who have served and are still serving their country in the u.s. Armed forces.
Today i stand before you with mixed feelings as my muslim brothers and sisters are subject to our governments racial profiling policies towards muslims as a result of the terror attacks of september ii.
We condemn these terrorist acts, but we are extremely concerned with our governments policy towards the palestinian/israeli conflict. Even with their good intentions, many of these government policies are helping to oppress the palestinian people.
After the blood i have shed for my country, and the tax dollars i have paid, i am especially concerned with what appears to be a less than equal treatment towards israel and the palestinian people. I agreed to come here today in the hope that i could show a different face to the muslims and palestinians that you are use to seeing on tv. I also hope that my being here will encourage many of you to learn about the muslim religion and islam. We are a peace loving people who believe in god and the rights of man. I may not agree with my governments policies, but that is what america is all about.
My love for this country and my patriotism are as solid as ever.
My strong belief in god, as well as the strong beliefs of my fellow muslim brothers and sisters, only enforces our determination to see peace for all countries and security with equality for all americans.
May god bless all veterans here today, and in this tension filled difficult time, may god bless my fellov muslim brothers and sisters and help them through this difficult time in u.s. History.
veteran day 2002
West SPRINGFIELD, MA