The Most Important Muslim American Contributions

Sometimes it’s important to recognize the contributions of minority members of our society. That’s for two big reasons: first, they rarely get the credit they earn. And Second, we routinely treat them like they don’t belong in the first place. But without, say, Muslim Americans on our side — America would look very different. Here are only a few of their achievements!

Bampett Muhammad was a Muslim American who fought under General George Washington between 1775 and 1783. Another man was named Yusuf Ben Ali, a North African Arab. Muslim Americans literally helped us win our freedom from the tyrannical British monarchy. Do you know what the first country to recognize the United States as a sovereign nation was? … No? It was Morocco. We’re still great friends. And they’re a predominantly Muslim country.

Muslim Americans are just like everyone else: mostly, they are just looking to get by. For Shahid Khan, that means searching for the American dream — that idea that anyone can work their way up the ladder through hard work and dedication (something not quite true anymore). He came to the United States when he was just sixteen years old, and noted that “Within 24 hours, I had already experienced the American dream.” 

He had found a job washing dishes, for which he was paid only $1.20 an hour. But that was decades ago, and still much more than the vast majority of people who lived and worked back home in Pakistan. Now, Khan is 65 years old and heads an auto-parts company. He is a billionaire — the 360th richest person on Earth. He was once on the cover of Forbes. Who can say he hasn’t contributed to American ideals?

Another Muslim American, Rahman Khan, was named the “Einstein of structural engineering” and created the structural methodology that allowed us to build skyscrapers taller and sturdier. If you love our cities, then you should appreciate the people who made them possible — and they weren’t just blue-collared, red-blooded, white Americans. FYI, the 2009 Trump International Hotel was built on the same foundation of knowledge.

Muslim American and Pakistani-born Ayub Ommaya helped pioneer an intraventricular catheter to deliver drugs directly into your brain. This allowed patients with otherwise untreatable brain tumors to be treated back in the 60s. The man also helped provide a great deal of expertise on TBI when he created a coma score to classify victims of traumatic brain injury. He was also a big deal for the US National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 

Regardless of these contributions, Muslim Americans routinely slip and fall in the eyes of other Americans — for no legitimate reason. The consequences they feel are the result of someone else’s actions. Radical Christian terrorists exist, but we don’t discuss them. Environmental terrorists exist, but we don’t discuss them. That’s because they look too much like the rest of us — and racism and xenophobia guarantee that we only antagonize those who look different