“I would say we should judge people based on their individual merits perhaps and not based on a group,” Mohammed Shaker told CNN’s Poppy Harlow in December.
Shaker knows a thing or two about individualism and merit.
Shaker is a member of the Pinellas County (Florida) Young Republicans, participates in his local GOP and is a staunch Rand Paul supporter. He also served his country in Iraq as a U.S. Army Combat Medic with the 82nd Airborne.
“I love America because of how diverse it is. I saw that first-hand in the Army,” Shaker told Rare in September. “Sitting on a C-130 where an Arab-American Muslim is about to dangerously jump from an airplane with his Spaniard-Jewish friend, black, Hispanic, and white Christian friends.”
For Shaker, his military experience showed him what it meant to be an American.
This conservative-libertarian activist and Army veteran does not fit the stereotypes commonly projected by politicians, and he is outspoken in his belief that diversity is an integral American value.
“It’s the same thing that Donald Trump does when he says we should ban all Muslims from coming in the country because there may be Muslim terrorists, with the same fact being that, as a Republican Muslim, I have been welcomed and felt a very welcoming sensation from the liberty movement that I’m a part of and the Republicans both in my hometown and abroad,” Shaker told CNN.
“A lot of [Muslims] who are here have contributed a lot to their communities, to academia, to science,” Shaker told TheBlaze in December, responding to Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. “What kind of people are we keeping away with a policy like that? We could be keeping out good people.”
A major part of Shaker’s Republican activism is his desire for his party to become more tolerant by trying to push it in a more youthful and libertarian-oriented direction.
“My parents are traditional conservatives that believe in family values, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and being fiscally conservative, but they are registered Democrats and vote ‘D’ down the line, every election,” Shaker told Rare.
Shaker thinks a conservative military veteran who also happens to be Muslim might be in a unique position to do some good.