Chaplain Shabazz is now Highest Ranking Muslim Chaplain

US Army Chaplain Khallid Shabazz was promoted last week to full Colonel, making him the US military’s highest ranking Muslim chaplain:

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael T. Morrissey, Commander of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, presided over the ceremony.

Morrissey had the opportunity to share some kind words about the newly promoted Col. Khallid M. Shabazz.

“For those of us who know Khallid, he is a force of nature, a force of personality, one of those unique types that I like to describe as someone you meet and you feel like you’ve known them your whole life,” said Morrissey. “Troops naturally gravitate towards him.”

Just last year Chaplain (then-LtCol) Shabazz had been installed as the first division-level Muslim chaplain at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. Chaplain Shabazz now finds himself at the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in Hawaii.

More interesting, perhaps, is the photograph of a “prayer circle” as his promotion ceremony closed:

While likely not the norm at most promotion ceremonies, it is not altogether unusual at the ceremonies for chaplains, where prayers are given less for their new rank and more for their spiritual legacy.

But the “laying on of hands” is a Christian, not Islamic, tradition, and given the number of Muslims in the military it is likely most, if not all, in that picture praying for Chaplain Shabazz are Christians.

How, precisely, would a Christian — or should a Christian — pray for an Islamic religious leader’s future spiritual role?


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