In his opposition to the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King wrote, "If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discord of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

Is justice rolling down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream in America as we attempt to bring justice and righteousness to the "axis of evil?" Shortly before the war began, a young Muslim boy was stabbed multiple times and beaten so badly in an anti-Muslim hate crime that he had to have reconstructive surgery. A few days ago, an explosion rocked the van of a Muslim-American family in Illinois. A Los Angeles man accused of singing about the rape of Muslim women pleaded no contest to a hate-crime charge. These are just a few of the incidents that beg the question, "Where is our beautiful symphony of brotherhood in America?"

Protesting the war does not mean we do not care about our troops. It means we care about them enough to oppose sending them to fight battles that will shed the blood of innocents and likely take their lives as well, or leave them psychologically damaged for life at the horror of it all, in a war that most of the world opposes. Mike Getlin, a Harvard sophomore with a promising military career, who was recently accepted to the Marine Officer Candidate School, told the crowd, "Yesterday, I withdrew my application from the Marine Corps after having asked myself some questions I could not answer."

A mosaic of emotions washed over me at that moment as I thought of my brother and the paradoxical position believing Muslims in the military must be in right now, supporting the war when so many non-Muslims vocally oppose it.

Shortly after 9/11, Chaplain Abdur-Rasheed Muhammad, the most senior Muslim chaplain in the American Armed Forces presented a question to the Fiqh Council of North America, a body of qualified Islamic scholars who live in the United States or Canada, concerning the permissibility of Muslim military personnel within the U.S. Armed Forces to participate as military combatants against Muslims in other countries.

The fatwa, or legal ruling, given in response stated that Muslims should stand together with other Americans to protect their country and its interests, abide by its laws and combat terrorism. "Muslims are part of the American society. Anyone who feels he's fighting in a just war must fight," one scholar stated. Another scholar declared, "If any Muslim serving in the U.S. Armed Forces has a conscientious objection to combat and believes that it is against Islamic principles to fight in any war, then that individual has the right to stand by his or her conscience." However, he points out, "they realize, of course, that they may be administratively separated from the military as a result of their choice." The scholars make it clear that this is only one of many legal opinions and does not stand as an ultimate religious order.

I am not against the U.S. military--I know we need armed forces. But Islamically I am not sure it would be in the best interest of Muslims in America to volunteer to serve. We are enjoined to honor and take seriously the oaths we take, and I cannot be sure that the aggression will be Islamically just.

Moreover, my brother has chosen a path that I do not necessarily agree is in the best interest of African Americans or Muslims. But I respect his right to choose, and I love him for his courage to stand up for what he believes. This is why Islam is so beautiful to me. He represents an Islamic view that it is acceptable for a Muslim to join the fight if he believes it is Islamically just.

I have no doubt that some Muslim servicemen and women who eschew this war will be moved to become conscientious objectors just as the non-Muslim Harvard student was moved to withdraw his application from the Marine Corps. It is a difficult process to apply for conscientious objector status if you are already enlisted, but for Muslims in the military who change their minds about fighting, this is a proper course of action to take-not to resort to treason or mutiny or violence against fellow servicemen, as Sgt. Akbar is alleged to have done. That is dishonorable and unIslamic.

No matter how much war enters me and will not leave, I can never disobey the injunctions of the Qur'an, which teaches, "O ye who believe! Stand firmly for God, as a witness to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice.

Be just: that is next to piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all that ye do." [Al-Qur'an 5:08]