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Muslim Marine travels the country to change hearts and minds

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Showing his true stripes and hoping to change hearts and minds, Mansoor Shams, a Muslim US Marine veteran, is traveling the country. He's working to break down barriers between Muslims and people of other religions.
His motto? "Ask anything!" FOX43's Photojournalist Rebecca Knier has more his story:

Armed with a pen and some poster board, Mansoor Shams continues his mission of understanding, in Harrisburg.

"We're living in a pretty crazy time where there's a lot of fears," Shams says.

His sign reads "I am Muslim and a U.S. Marine. Ask anything."

"I think that if you get to know me a little bit, particularly my service to the Marine Corps then you'll be able to connect that person doing that bad thing is a bad person," he says.

Shams has been traveling the country as part of the meet a Muslim campaign spreading awareness of Islam, that, he says, is currently causing irrational fear.

"There are people who are deliberately killing people, innocent people. they're' going into places shooting.."
"No, bad people are. I'm Muslim. My religion doesn't teach me to kill anyone," he says.

Shams feels he's called to this because of his background as a U.S. Marine.

"I realize that a large majority of Americans do have respect for people served in the armed forces and the main reason why most people do listen to me is because I'm a United States Marine, and then I'm a Muslim. And if that gets the conversation going, so be it," says Shams.

Among the questions..

"You know it's okay, I'm happy that you got that off your chest. The way they treat women, right?..."

Shams was thanked multiple times for his service.

"First, thank you for your service."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you."

"Thank you."
"Thank you for your service"
"Hey, thank you."

"It makes me so happy because that person at that moment looked past my skin color, they looked past my beard that I keep, looked past my faith. That means a whole lot to me. It motivates me to continue my work further.

To follow Shams on his quest, visit his website at muslimmarine.org where he says he's happy to answer. "Any questions?"