US Marine Converts to Islam in Iraq
As noted at the Huffington Post, US Marine Anthony Vance deployed to Iraq and soon became Ibrahim Mohamed, a new convert to Islam.
Mohamed felt the pull toward the faith strengthen in Iraq — “the heart of the Islamic world,” as he says — and he reached out to the Muslim contractors on his base and started learning about the precepts of the Quran.
Convinced that he was being called to Islam, he officially became a Muslim while still serving in Iraq.
The rest of the article generally focuses on the fact that Mohamed is Hispanic, and comments on the Hispanic conversion rate to Islam. It also finally notes this occurred two years ago.
Mohamed is by no means the only person to claim a new faith, or change from one to another, while in the combat theatre. (A former Muslim US Army Soldier became a Catholic in Iraq last year.)
It is a testament to the US military’s support of the religious free exercise of its troops that it allows them to continue to practice their faith, seek out faith — and even change from one faith to another — even while they are deployed in combat.
One point of interest is that General Order Number One prohibits “proselytizing of any religion, faith, or practice.” To “proselytize” is to “convert.” Critics might conclude it is conceivable the Islamic contractors cited above (who likely fall under GO1) or even the Catholic Chaplains in the second example violated that provision, as a person under their tutelage “converted.”
That would likely be a stretch of the intent of the Order, though plenty of people have stretched before. Michael Weinstein’s researcher Chris Rodda still seems to think giving Bibles to Ugandan Christians who asked for them is somehow “proselytizing.”