Muslim Soldier on Faith and Service

The Stars and Stripes ran an article entitled “Some Muslim servicemembers struggle to balance faith and service,” though the article cited only a single former servicemember, former Army SSgt Mohammad A. Hasan.  After 9 years of service, with his Islamic faith a non-issue, he said a deployment to Iraq set him apart from his peers:

With a dark complexion and Muslim name, the Bangladesh-born soldier’s loyalty was at times questioned by suspicious troops during his deployment in Iraq, he said.

The article continues to use the plural with reference to “struggling” Muslim Soldiers, though it fails to mention any others.  In fact, it quotes both former Navy Muslim Chaplain Muhiyyaldin Ibn-Noel and CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper practically defending the military.  They noted incidents may occur “at the small unit level,” but the military does “a good job of handling” those issues — once it knows about them.  Hooper specifically noted

“We don’t see it as a systemic problem from the top down.”

The article also cites currently serving SPC Anza Ali, a Soldier raised Islamic who “no longer practices” her faith, and who

never encountered any serious discrimination.

The reach of the Stripes article hearkens back to the case of US Army SPC Zachari Klawonn, another Michael Weinstein “client,” who criticized the US Army on al Jazeera (in uniform, no less).  The emphasis at the time was on his complaints, and some missed that “about 180” US Army Soldiers of the Islamic faith were stationed at Fort Hood with Klawonn, and they had no similar complaints.

It’s almost as if the Stripes went out looking for a Muslim struggling with their faith, and even then the best they could come up with was a former Soldier and a current Soldier with no issues.

As an institution of nearly 3 million members, there are certainly cases of imperfect or inappropriate conduct of every stripe within the military.  Sometimes it seems, though, that the search for a media story practically results in the creation of an otherwise non-story.