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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Soldier's mission of unity comes to deadly end

Mohsin Naqvi joined the Army to help bridge the divide between America and the Muslim world, and he died for that cause, family and friends said Friday.

Naqvi, a Pakistan native who was married in Albany's al-Fatima Islamic Center three months ago, was among four U.S. Army soldiers killed Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in eastern Afghanistan, according to family and friends.

He is survived by his 20-year-old wife, Raazia, and his sister, Tasneem Ali, both of Mechanicville; his brother, Hassan Naqvi, a University at Albany student; and his parents, who live in Newburgh.

"He was like an American ambassador, a bridge, a link," said Aziz Ahsan, a close family friend and attorney in Fishkill.

A service is expected to be held for Naqvi early next week at the al-Fatima mosque, with burial to follow in the center's cemetery. Specifics for the funeral could not be obtained late Friday afternoon, as Naqvi's body had not yet returned to the United States.

The second lieutenant had joined the Army Reserve near Newburgh days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks because he felt his background made him uniquely qualified to try and reconcile differences between America and the Muslim world, family and friends said.

Naqvi fought discrimination from military leaders while participating in basic training and during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. One time, officers asked him the origin of his last name and if he was fighting on the right side, his brother recalled Friday. [Link]

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