US Army Guantánamo Guard Converted to Islam

In an era where the most vocal concern about religion in the military is “illegal Christian proselytizing,” Newsweek carries the opposite side of the story: a US Army soldier who was “proselytized” by the Islamic prisoners he oversaw.

Army specialist Terry Holdbrooks [of the 463rd Military Police Company] had been a guard at Guantánamo for about six months the night he had his life-altering conversation with detainee 590, a Moroccan also known as “the General” [in] early 2004…

Holdbrooks is described in the article as “a contrarian” who can “also be conspiratorial,” noting that

When his company visited the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Holdbrooks remembers thinking there had to be a broader explanation, and that the Bush administration must have colluded somehow in the plot.

With regard to his duties while at Guantanamo after his conversion, the article also recounts an “intervention” that occurred with a group of other soldiers–not because of his religious conversion, but because of his degree of increasing familiarity with the prisoners:

They heard detainees calling him Mustapha, and saw that Holdbrooks was studying Arabic openly…One night his squad leader took him to a yard behind his living quarters, where five guards were waiting to stage a kind of intervention. “They started yelling at me,” he recalls, “asking if I was a traitor, if I was switching sides.” At one point a squad leader pulled back his fist and the two men traded blows, Holdbrooks says.

This article was also noted at Muslim Military Members (as previously highlighted), which is

an organization providing information, communication, and coordination for Muslims in the US Armed Forces.