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Photo by Amanda Lucidon/The White House
President Obama delivering the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress in 2014.

Seeking to combat a growing Islamophobic sentiment nationwide, Congresswoman Grace Meng announced on Monday that a Muslim lieutenant with the NYPD will accompany her to President Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Meng’s guest of honor is Lt. Adeel Rana, president of the NYPD Muslim Officers Society. Rana is a naturalized U.S. citizen who immigrated from Pakistan in the 1980s; he is also a U.S. Army veteran, and served at Ground Zero as a member of the New York Army National Guard after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He is currently the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Community Affairs Immigrant Outreach Unit.

Meng thanked Rana for accepting her invitation, emphasizing his “commitment to standing against hate and fear” in an increasingly xenophobic society.

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,” Meng said.

Rana enthusiastically accepted Meng’s invitation, adding that this was an opportunity for him to represent the Muslim-American community.

“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,” he said.

Rana will sit with other guests in the House Gallery, with Meng joining her Congressional colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives. President Obama’s State of the Union Address, as well as the customary Republican response thereafter, will air on most major television networks and be streamed online.

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