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This Memorial Day, I'll Honor Those Who Served by Wearing the Label of Peacemaker

Army Spc. Arturo Barajas provides security for Iraqi army soldiers in southern Mosul, Iraq. Department of Defense. Photo by Spc. Christa Martin, U.S. Army.

The first time I heard about the city of Mosul, I was a soldier in Iraq.

A rocket had hit a military mess hall near there and ripped through the Tuesday lunch crowd. The mess hall was the one place we gathered together. The one place where we took off our flak vests, laid down our weapons, and ate together. Sixty-six people—some military, some civilian—were wounded before anyone knew what happened. That was the cost those soldiers paid that day. Many others pay an even steeper price.

Today is the day that we sit with that. Today is the day we remember all a soldier leaves behind when they die.

3 Ways to Support Your Muslim Neighbors This Ramadan

Ramadan candle (photo by Ibrahim.ID / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

It’s easy to fear the unknown. It’s easy to fear those who are different from us, who practice different religions or represent different cultures.

Our 24-hour news cycle feeds into these fears. What we know about Islam and the Middle East—or think we know—often comes from those who have a vested interest in sharing only the most sensational and fear-based stories.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Ramadan: 4 Things Every Non-Muslim Should Know

The appearance of the crescent moon against the night sky signals the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

The literal translation of the word Ramadan is "to be burnt, scorched." This ninth month on the Islamic calendar is set apart for observant Muslims to engage in disciplined practices intended to "burn off the bad" accumulations from the previous year.

Here are three things every non-Muslim should know about this season...

''We Want Peace, Safety, Work.'' One Man's Audacious Vision for Post-ISIS Mosul

We knew it the minute we rolled up in west Mosul: this was bad news.

Some food deliveries are orderly and organized. On others, you can feel the desperation, the barely controlled chaos. We sometimes refer to these as “the desperate situation.” 

Faces of Hunger and Hope in Aleppo

6,000 families. 600,000 hot meals every month. 

Since December, we've maintained an emergency feeding center near Aleppo, serving 25,000 to 30,000 displaced families. Many have lost everything to Syria's civil war.

In the Middle of Syria’s Civil War, One Kitchen Is Sustaining 30,000 People

Ever since families poured out of Aleppo, fleeing the destruction of everything they knew, you've met them nearby with hot meals to sustain them on their darkest days. A lot of hot meals.

Much of the world has moved on. But the need here in the Aleppo province—it isn't going away.

Your Love Keeps Showing Up in West Mosul

Enormous need requires an enormous response.

That’s why you’re sending truck after truck of food, water, and basic supplies into west Mosul. Into the neighborhoods with the greatest need.

Girls Only: New Market For Female Entrepreneurs Launches In Northern Iraq

Women in our empowerment program sell their products at a similar market

In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, "women’s work" has recently taken on a different dimension. Every Wednesday the city holds a special “women’s market” where local women can sell goods and foods they produce themselves.

This Month, You Helped Refugee Families Take a Step Toward Wholeness

You know that families need more than just emergency food and minimal shelter in order to have a complete life.

There are times when families fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria need food, urgent medical care, and short-term shelter more than anything else. But after that—after we’ve met their immediate needs—what’s next?

Fighting Hate with... Dinner Parties?

Photo Courtesy of MuslimNeighbor.com

You know those internet videos and memes about Muslims that are meant to generate fear?

Whenever I saw one, I always found myself yelling at my computer—“Go meet a Muslim! Ask them about their religion! I’m sure Muslims aren’t as bad as you think they are!”

Then one day it hit me: I don’t actually know any Muslims. Not one. That needed to be remedied. 

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