Recent news reports indicate two US citizens were recently killed while fighting on the side of the terror group known as ISIS, which has declared an “Islamic state” in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. (Reports indicate that makes at least three Americans killed fighting on the side of the Islamic extremists so far, and others want to.)
A second American citizen who died fighting for terror group ISIS in Syria has been identified as Abdirahmaan Muhumed of Minneapolis, reports have said.
Fox News reported that the 29-year-old Somali-American died in the same battle as Douglas McArthur McCain, the first American to be identified as having died on the Islamic militant side.
It turns out former US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the man sentenced to death for killing more than a dozen of his fellow soldiers in the 2009 massacre, wants to become a citizen of this new Islamic state (more proof, some say, the attack was an act of terrorism, not “workplace violence“).
In an interesting bit of timing, Army Sgt Hasan Akbar — sentenced Read more
A report at FoxNews highlights a message from US Army Col. Kevin Glasz, brigade commander of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, regarding respect for Islam during Ramadan:
“This is a period of great personal restraint and commitment in addition to renewed focus on worship,” Brigade Commander Col. Kevin Glasz wrote. “I’d like to encourage you to learn just a little more about this religion, but more importantly, I’m asking you to be considerate and do not consume food or drink in front of our Muslim colleagues; it is a simple, yet respectful action.”
In contrast from policies governing US military personnel in Bahrain, which was highlighted here last month, the USUHS is in Maryland, and there are no laws in Maryland governing Ramadan.
Optimistically viewed, it is just a supportive statement from the military to help others respect the faiths of those around them. But as an anonymous Marine officer is quoted in pointing out, this kind of “supportive statement” is only used in reference to Islam: Read more
Update: The Air Force Times repeated the atheist claim that “one in five” troops need “clergy who don’t believe in a god.” Also at the Stars and Stripes and Washington Times.
In what has become a recurring theme, atheists lobbying for a spot in the military chaplaincy misrepresented demographic data to support their cause. Again. The American Humanist Association — which is attempting to endorse the first atheist chaplain — equates the military category of “no religious preference” with “a secular values system.”
“23% of US military soldiers claim “no religious preference” thus indicating a secular values system”
Jason Torpy, who has positions at both the Read more
The US Air Force has charged a Senior Airman with a crime even former US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan managed to escape.
Airman Charlie Wilson of Robins AFB was arrested last year in connection with the death of his pregnant girlfriend:
Wilson was arrested Sept. 3, 2013, on charges Read more
Much has been made of the January changes to the US military religious accommodation policy — changes presumably made in light of the 2013 and 2014 NDAAs passed by Congress that required the US military to promulgate policies protecting religious expression.
The changes have been criticized by almost everyone, including Congress, religious liberty advocates, and even religious groups who might benefit from grooming or uniform wear waivers. The policies do not expressly address religious expression, and the waivers they allow are temporary and subject to the whim of local commanders, according to some sources.
The US military recently revealed that two applicants have been denied waivers under the new policy.
In addition, it said since 2012 it has approved six and denied Read more
Update: J.B. Wells wonders aloud if the DoD intentionally produced the policy to change the religious freedom focus to turbans and beards while keeping “liberal constituencies” like Michael Weinstein “at bay.”
There have been a wide variety of responses to the US military’s update to DODI 1300.17 (accommodating religious freedom), with language that seems to imply a more open attitude toward outward display and expression of religious belief.
The Christian Post, like many sites, focused on the apparent ability to wear religious accoutrements:
The Pentagon reportedly decided to change its policy on religious wear after Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a Sikh, spoke at a Congressional briefing about the challenges American Sikhs face in the military earlier in January. Kalsi told members of Congress that he believes he can effectively serve his country while still maintaining his religious appearance, including an uncut beard and a turban.
While that may or may not have been a factor, the DoDI clearly includes language from both the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts — that is, requirements levied by Congress, not just reconsideration based on serving Soldiers.
The US Navy appeared to try to quell Read more
In an interesting tidbit from the Bell County Jail where then-US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was held during his trial for the 2009 Fort Hood massacre, a report of his jail requests indicates he asked for a Bible and a “knowledgeable person” while he was on trial:
Hasan also asked the jail for a copy of the Bible and added, “Please send a knowledgeable person to answer my difficult questions as Read more
The Associated Press reports that the nearly 4-year capital murder court-martial of then-US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan cost “nearly $5 million.”
The biggest pre-trial expense in Maj. Nidal Hasan’s trial was more than $1 million for transportation for witnesses, jurors and attorneys…About $90,000 was spent to house the witnesses…
The records also show that in the months before his trial, Army helicopters ferried Hasan 40 miles from the Bell County Jail to Fort Hood at a cost of more than $194,000 so he could work on his defense in his private office. More than $200,000 was spent on trailers, apparently including the one that housed the private office.
The expenses likely include the combat-like barriers that surrounded the facility holding the trial.