Grace Meng invites Pakistani American NYPD officer as guest for Obama’s SOTU speech

Meng’s support for Muslims a rebuff for Donald Trump too.

By Sujeet Rajan

Rana Photo

NEW YORK: New York Democrat Congresswoman Grace Meng has found a unique way to support Muslims in America and rebuff the Republican presidential front-runner and businessman Donald Trump’s vicious invective against Muslims: she has invited as her guest a Pakistani American New York Police Department (NYPD) officer, Lt. Adeel Rana, as her guest at president Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, on Tuesday.

Though Meng announced that the invite to Rana – who is President of the NYPD Muslim Officers Society – was an effort to combat rising anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States, the politics behind it is unquestionable.

Rana is a naturalized American citizen who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in the 1980s. He is a U.S. Army veteran and served at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks as a member of the New York Army National Guard. He is presently the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Community Affairs Immigrant Outreach Unit.

“It will be an honor to have Lt. Rana at the State of the Union and I look forward to welcoming him to the President’s address to Congress,” said Meng, in a statement to The American Bazaar. “His attendance will be a tremendous show of solidarity against the increased Islamophobia that has disgracefully spread across our country, and hopefully his presence can help combat it. I thank him for accepting my invitation, and for his commitment to standing against hate and fear. I will make sure the White House and Congressional leadership are aware of his attendance.”

Rana expressed his gratitude to Meng for the invite, in a statement.

“I feel extremely proud for having received this invitation. As an American Muslim who has always been dedicated to serving my country and my fellow Americans, I see this as a wonderful opportunity to represent all the great Muslim Americans. There are many patriotic Muslim Americans – from all walks of life – who love and serve the United States of America including nurses and doctors who save the lives of Americans; teachers who educate America’s next generation; and last but not least, the men and women of our armed forces and law enforcement who protect this great country. God Bless America!”

Incidentally, Meng was allotted one extra ticket for the State of the Union speech, Obama’s last in office. The ticket will allow Rana to sit in the House gallery for the president’s speech.

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