US Army BGen Miguel Castellanos, the CJTF-HOA deputy commanding general, recently hosted an Islamic iftar to celebrate the breaking of the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event began with US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Abuhena Saifulislam leading some foreign troops in Islamic prayers. (Saifulislam had recently performed the same ritual for the State Department in Djibouti.)
BGen Castellanos made an interesting statement Read more
As reported by the Navy, aptly named US Navy CAPT Steve Moses took over the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center at the end of March. (Last year, it was CAPT Moses who said requiring US Sailors and their families to mirror Islamic customs during Ramadan “support[s] religious freedom.”)
The Navy Chief of Chaplains, Chaplain (RAdm) Margaret Kibben, was the guest speaker, and she had the notable quote for the day [emphasis added]:
She challenged Capt. Moses to, “Wear the mantle, and do so with authority, with the responsibility that has been granted to you by the One who is the author of all these things.”
Had Chaplain Kibben been a white male Southern Baptist (as Read more
Though the month of June marks references to both Ramadan and PTSD awareness (among other things), from news coverage and official US military press releases, you’d think June in the US military was all about sex.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes June as PTSD awareness month, though as yet Congress has only recognized June 27th as PTSD awareness day. Thus, PTSD awareness month is not enshrined in law as, say, Religious Freedom Day is.
Notably, neither the current Congress nor any prior law recognizes any day or month as a celebration of “Gay Pride” — yet President Barack Obama issued a proclamation marking just such a recognition.
While he has annually issued praise for homosexuality in June, according to Read more
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, Read more
The Miami Herald recently published a somewhat censored report of “Sgt 1st Class A,” an unidentified female California National Guard Soldier and Muslim. She was on her first deployment in her 20-year career, and the article briefly described her past and how she celebrated Ramadan.
Islam, she says, makes her a better soldier, “thoughtful, compassionate, understanding — all those things you need as a leader. That’s where I pull my strength from.”
In an interesting twist, the article says Read more
US Air Force Graphic
As it has in years past, the US military has given its troops guidance on how to act in Muslim countries during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. From the official CENTCOM.mil site [emphasis added]:
U.S. military members serving in countries that observe Ramadan are required to adhere to certain practices while outside U.S. installations…
When outside U.S. controlled areas, eating and drinking in public during daylight hours is against the law. Failure to obey could result in fines up to $685 or a sentence of up to two months in jail.
“The commander’s policy dictates that airmen will adhere to local law, which prohibits eating, drinking or tobacco use off base in public,” said Sickles.
It’s an interesting way to phrase it. The US military isn’t technically requiring troops 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
The Pentagon recently hosted its annual iftar, the traditional breaking of the Ramadan fast by Muslims. Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work noted the event allowed the Department of Defense to “honor” the Muslim faith:
In addition to recognizing and honoring the Muslim faith, tonight is also an opportunity to celebrate the importance of diversity and equality within the Department of Defense, and the values that make our Department strong – integrity, courage, dedication and respect.
Presumably, in the spirit of diversity, the DoD similarly honors the values of integrity, courage, etc, in the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and other religious faiths. To date, however, there do not appear to be any similar public Department of Defense statements about other religions.