HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- As the Marines with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment continue their fight in the Global War on Terrorism, most of them think of it as business and not personal.
However, for some Marines who are of the Islamic faith, the war in Iraq hits a personal note. Cpl. Mohammed N. Rahman, who is a Sunni Muslim, fights not only to free the people of Iraq from the insurgents grip and to protect his country (America), but also to redeem his beloved religion.
“This is a personal offense, not only to me but others who share my faith,” said the 23-year-old infantryman with 2nd Platoon, Company L. “The insurgents have scarred the image of my religion.”
Rahman was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh where he learned to speak Bangla, Hindi, Urdu, and Arabic during his childhood, before moving the United States with his family at age 12.
Upon arriving in America, he strove to learn the English language while adjusting to the busy and culturally different society.
He joined the Marine Corps in 2001 because of its discipline and its tradition that closely mirrored the practices of his beliefs.
Rahman was shocked to learn later in the year that the terrorists of the Sept. 11 attack announced that they were Sunni Muslims and that their faith had led them to attack.
“I was outraged by this ludicrous image that the insurgents portrayed about my faith,” the Columbus, Ohio native said. “No one really feels the same way they feel.”
Now Rahman is working to redeem his faith and putting his linguistic skills to good use while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On missions, Rahman, in addition to being a rifleman, acts a linguist for his squad. As a linguist he informs the local community he comes in contact with about the Marines mission here and helps them understand that the service members are here to help them.
“Most of these people don’t know or understand things outside their society,” the 2000 Worthington-Kilbourne graduate said. “Most people don’t understand that the reason we are here is to help them have a better life and to remove these dangerous insurgents.”
Many of the people he talks to do not follow the insurgents’ belief in a jihad (holy war) on America and they do not believe in any religious wars between the Sunni and Shia.
Sometimes people even give him useful information that they think could help them, because of their shared religion.
Even though he is a Sunni Muslim, he is not allowed in the local mosques, which are of the same faith as he is for political reasons. Instead, he finds time to worship in his own way.
“As we go on missions during prayer times I go through the prayer process in my head,” Rahman said. “I try to find time to pray when I’m back at the dam.”
Rahman understands the importance of the missions he goes on and he knows that his small part in a bigger war is not overlooked and he hopes it will be over soon.
“I trust in our leaders’ decisions,” Rahman said with a smile. “I will continue to do my job the best I can, through my actions, my faith will be redeemed, and my country will be safe.”