Jamal Baadani, right, founded the Association of
Patriotic Arab Americans in the Military

Sixty-two per cent of Americans now say invading Iraq was a mistake. That number represents an all-time high and surpasses the percentage of Americans who felt Vietnam was a mistake in 1971.

Among Arab Americans, the war in Iraq has always been unpopular. So much so, that within community circles a quiet debate raged about whether or not Arab American soldiers should serve in Iraq. So where does that leave the thousands of Arab and Muslim Americans who are currently serving in the US military, many in Iraq?

On Monday's Riz Khan we will be joined by US Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Jamal Baadani who founded the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in the Military - APAAM. After joining the Marines at age 17 Jamal's first assignment was Beirut and he arrived just days after the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing. He went on to have a long and distinguished service record in the Marines and became one of the Corps top recruiters.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, and the backlash against his own family, Jamal felt compelled to bring attention to the military service of Arab Americans.

Since APAAM's founding in 2001 the organisation has been featured in numerous articles and television interviews making sure to inform the broader public that Americans of Arab descent have been serving in the US military since the Revolutionary War of 1767.

But even though Jamal has served across the globe as a Marine and has been grilled about his community's contributions by top reporters, his toughest questions still come from within the Arab American community where he is almost always asked, "How could you fight other Arabs?".

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This episode of Riz Khan aired on Monday 30th July 2007

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