Mike Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.
GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?
MC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.
GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?
MC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.
GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?
MC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.
GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?
MC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.
GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?
MC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.
GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?
MC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.
GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?
MC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!
GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?
MC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.
GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?
MC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.
GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?
MC: As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.
GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?
MC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military. For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.
GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.
MC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision
As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.
GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?
MC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.
GB: Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.