US Navy Issues Relaxed Ramadan Guidance
The US military has annually restricted the conduct of US troops in the Middle East to appease religious sensitivities in the region.
This year, an article in the Stars and Stripes notes the US Navy’s 5th Fleet has “ease[d]” clothing restrictions, but other restrictions remain:
U.S. personnel will be restricted from eating, drinking and smoking in public, including while driving, during daylight hours…
This year, Defense Department personnel…and their dependents will be allowed to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts during Ramadan.
Preemptively responding to criticisms about religious liberty, the Navy command chaplain, US Navy Chaplain (Capt) Steven Moses, explained this policy actually “support[s] religious freedom”:
One of the myths out there is we are trying to impose religion on our servicemembers. We are not trying to impose a religious view, but we are trying to be respectful of their [host nations’] religious views. We do it because we support religious freedom, it is a local law, and we do it because we want to be good neighbors and good ambassadors.
“Religious freedom” almost seems a buzzword in Chaplain Moses’ response, since how, precisely, requiring US military members to adhere to (other) religious restrictions supports religious freedom is unclear.
While not as explicit, the US military lost a lawsuit many years ago when it required female service members to wear abayas — in an effort to be a good neighbor, no doubt.