Muslim Marine visits Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A Muslim man who served four years in the U.S. Marines stopped in Charlottesville on Wednesday as part of his multi-state campaign to educate the public on his faith.

"I felt that it was important for myself as a veteran, who is also a Muslim, that it was important for me to come out and have these conversations with my fellow Americans," said Mansoor Shams, a U.S. citizen who lives in Baltimore with his wife and children.

Carrying a sign urging passersby to ask him anything, Shams walked on the Downtown Mall, stopping to talk whenever someone was willing.

"What did you have for breakfast," one man asked him.

Another was more serious.

"When are you going to run for office," he asked Shams. "We need you."

Shams says the questions he is asked many times are about Sharia law. He says a common misconception is that Sharia is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution.

"It just means a path to life-giving water," he said. "It's like my Ten Commandments. It's like my moral code for me as an individual to live by. You know, don't cheat, don't be arrogant, don't be prideful, don't drink, don't fornicate, don't commit adultery. That's all Sharia is."

Shams has been touring the country for two years carrying his sign and has visited 23 states.

For more information on his campaign, see the Related Links box.

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