Local News

Local Muslim Leader Realizes Dreams, Grateful To America

Posted March 25, 2003 10:07 a.m. EST

— People in the local Muslim community are carefully watching the war and watching for any backlash they may encounter. A leader of the Islamic Center of Raleigh shares his story and view of the war.

"It really is a human tragedy in our opinion. When I personally watch TV, I get very sad, honestly," said Dr. Muquarrab Qureshi.

The war and everything about it runs counter to what Qureshi has known in America.

"I immigrated to this country when I had only $30 in my pocket," he said.

Qureshi came from Pakistan with that $30 and a dream.

"My first job was at McDonald's flipping hamburgers. Within three weeks I became the crew trainer," he said.

The former McDonald's employee is now a professor at North Carolina State University who studies genetics.

"The reason why I'm successful is people accepted me. People picked me up when I needed someone to pick me up," Qureshi said.

Qureshi said he has seen much good in America, but he knows that dreams and freedom are fragile. Especially now, and especially when you are Muslim.

"Even when I visited Pakistan last month, I went over to see my mother and first thing she asked was, 'Are you doing OK in America?'" he said.

The professor said for him, and others, is has been a good experience.

"People have come up to us and asked if they can help. I'm not the only one saying that. I challenge you. You can walk and talk to anybody and they would say they feel very, very safe. They feel very comfortable in this country," Qureshi said.

But now the country is at war.

"Obviously, I would never support war," he said. "All people are good people, and the good needs to come out now."

Thanks to good people, Qureshi achieved the American dream. But he feels war flies in the face of dreams and goodness. He hopes for a quick end to the war, for the sake of America and Iraq.