Mujaahidah Sayfullah is one of thousands of Muslim-American military veterans. But her perspective differs from many. She converted to Islam after serving in the Army and sees the world differently than when she wore a soldier’s uniform.
For Mujaahidah Sayfullah, Veterans Day is a time to express appreciation for those who protect the country and its freedoms.
“I’m very fortunate to have all my limbs,” said Sayfullah, who served in the U.S. Army for six years in the 1990s. “We have a lot of wounded warriors, and I like to acknowledge those who endured a lot more damage than I did.”
“There was no divide because we were all soldiers,” she said. “In the military you become like family, and there are no barriers with regards to race or socio-economic status. The only divide is rank.”
Sayfullah is one of thousands of Muslim-American military veterans. Their ranks include the likes of Khalid Lites, a third-generation Army veteran who lives in Shoreline. But Sayfullah’s perspective may differs from others, including the 4,275 Muslims the Pentagon reports are in active duty. She converted to Islam after serving.
She sees the world differently now than when she wore an Army uniform.
She’s been called names by strangers, thrown out of a courtroom for wearing a hijab, or traditional Muslim head scarf, and gotten suspicious looks, she said, at the V.A. hospital.
She grew up “spoiled rotten,” she said, in a Southern Baptist household in Tacoma. Her name was Teressa McCullough. She shocked her family when she enlisted at a recruiting office and shipped out to basic training in South Carolina.
“I just wanted to see the world and serve the country,” she said.