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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Islam in the United States and in the US military

There has been much misinformation about the status of Islam around the world.
Comments often include the fear of the Islamnation of free societies, or even a take over all free Western cultures.
Radical Islam is the problem just as radical Christianity is the problem.  Any fundamentalism is always an issue.  Look at what is happening in Saudi Arabia and even beating western Imamas simply because they don't follow their wabbits rules.
So lets look at some of the numbers:
United States (1.6 million of those that claim to be Muslims)
the percentages are .6%  of the Us population
there are 1209 mosques in the US (65 575 Churches in the US)
Largest Mosque in the US   Dearborn, Michigan
There has been a long tradition of Muslims working and living in Americans society.
First US Muslim 1539:
Estevanico of Azamor may have been the first Muslim to enter the historical record in North America. Estevanico was a Berber originally from North Africa who explored the future states of Arizona and New Mexico for the Spanish Empire.

What would the founders say of Islam?
In 1776, John Adams published "Thoughts on Government," in which he praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a "sober inquirer after truth" alongside Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, and other thinkers.

In 1785, George Washington stated a willingness to hire "Mahometans," as well as people of any nation or religion, to work on his private estate at Mount Vernon if they were "good workmen." It was a rhetorical statement, as he hired no such people.
In 1790, the South Carolina legislative body granted special legal status to a community of Moroccans. 

In 1797, President John Adams signed a treaty declaring the United States had no "character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen".
In his autobiography, published in 1791, Benjamin Franklin stated that he "did not disapprove" of a meeting place in Pennsylvania that was designed to accommodate preachers of all religions. Franklin wrote that "even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service."

Muslim's in the US military
There are about 8 Muslim Chaplin's within the US military.

The actual numbers and percentages of Muslims in the military
Qaseem Uqdah, a former Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who heads the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council in Washington, D.C., counts upwards of 15,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and Coast Guard members.  
The average age of U.S. Muslim troops is 21, Uqdah said. Most are married, with one child.

Like servicemen and women of other faiths, American troops who study Islam's Quran are as loyal as anyone, said Uqdah, whose organization helps recruit and endorse Muslim chaplains for the armed forces.  "These troops are focusing on getting ready and are ready to execute the commander in chief's orders," Uqdah said. "Muslim men and women are no different from anyone else in the military."

US military members Pray as per tradition

Some say that Islam is creeping up to be the second largest religion in the US... lets look at facts:
Religious groupnumber
in year
 % in
Religious groups
Total US pop year 2000281,421,839100.0%
Evangelical Protestant39,994,85214.2%
Mainline Protestant26,091,3219.3%
Protestant (evangelical+mainline)66,086,17323.5%
adherents (unadjusted)141,364,42050.2%
adjustment for non-responses (mostly black Protestant congregations)35,112,92812.5%
total adherents (adjusted)176,477,34862.7%
non-affiliated (unclaimed - adjustment)104,944,49137.3%
other - including Mormon & Christ Scientist12,254,0994.4%
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon, LDS)4,224,0261.5%
other - excluding Mormon8,030,0732.9%
Jewish estimate6,141,3252.2%
Buddhist estimate2,000,0000.7%
Muslim estimate1,559,2940.6%
Hindu estimate1,110,0000.4%
Source: ARDA[31]


One cant discuss the ideas of Muslims in the military not without talking about the good and the bad.  Many soldiers have served honourably and some have not... the military is just a microcosm of society   the good the bad and the ugly.

the Good:

Some American Muslim soldiers have been killed in Iraq. For example, Army Captain Humayun Khan, 27, was killed in Iraq in 2004 when he tried to stop a suicide bomber from attacking an American compound. Army Spc. Azhar Ali, 27, was killed in 2005 in Iraq by a roadside bomb that blew up his vehicle while he was on patrol. In 2007, Army Spc. Kareem R. Khan, 20, died in Iraq when a bomb detonated while he and other soldiers were checking abandoned houses for explosives; Khan was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Captain Abdullah Hulwe, a Muslim chaplain in Iraq, says his presence in Iraq helps the military develop better relations with Iraqi Muslims, and helps reduce the anger that some American soldiers have towards ordinary Iraqis, which makes both Americans and Iraqis safer. Major Abdul-RasheedMirza Bashir Ahmad says other soldiers in his unit in Iraq seek his help in establishing good relations with Iraqis.

Some American Muslims in the military have said they are uncomfortable having to fight against Muslims in Afghanistan or Iraq. In June 2004, Sgt. 1st Class Abdullah Webster was jailed for refusing to deploy to Iraq; he had previously served with the military in Kosovo, where the enemy had been Serbian, not Muslim. Air Force Chaplain Captain Hamza Al-Mubarak testified on Sgt. Webster’s behalf that it would be better for Sgt. Webster to die than to take up arms against Muslims in Iraq. Qaseem Uqdah, a former Marine and the head of the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council, says American Muslim soldiers must honor their contracts with the military, even if that means going to war in Muslim countries.

the Bad:

A few American Muslim soldiers have been formally accused of disloyalty. Captain James Yee, chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, was accused of espionage, detained in solitary confinement for 76 days, subjected to sensory deprivation, and threatened with the death penalty. All charges were dropped. Charges of attempted espionage at Guantanamo Bay were also dropped against Senior Airman Ahmad Al Halabi.

Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar was sentenced to death for killing fellow soldiers while their unit awaited deployment from Kuwait into Iraq in 2003. Sgt. Akbar admitted killing two fellow soldiers and injuring fourteen in a grenade attack because he believed that American soldiers would kill Muslims, and rape Muslim women, in Iraq. His lawyers argued that he was mentally ill. Sgt. Akbar claimed that he was religiously harassed before the incident, but the defense did not present any testimony regarding religious harassment at the trial.

In 2004, Marine Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun was charged with deserting his post in Iraq. The military believes he is hiding in Lebanon.

In 2004, a National Guard tank crewman, Spc. Ryan G. Anderson, was convicted of trying to give Al Qaeda information about American troops (troop strength and tactics) and methods for killing American soldiers. His lawyer argued that he was mentally ill.

In 2008, a former Navy sailor, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, was convicted of leaking details (prior to 9/11) about Naval ship movements in the Persian Gulf to suspected Al Qaeda supporters.
In November 2009, a Palestinian/Jordanian American Muslim soldier stationed at Fort Hood in Texas, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was accused of shooting and killing twelve American soldiers and wounding many others. Witnesses say he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) before opening fire. Some who know him say he was angry about the presence of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq; that he said the U.S. was waging a “war on Islam;” that he said Islamic law required that American actions in the Muslim world should be confronted; and that he was upset that he would be deployed to serve in Afghanistan. Hasan had previously prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the Army, warning of “adverse effects” for the Army unless American Muslims were allowed to avoid fighting fellow Muslims overseas. Investigators found Hasan’s business cards printed with the term “SoA(swt).” Investigators speculate this means “Soldier of Allah, glory be to Him.” Hasan repeatedly asked a leader at his local Texas mosque how American Muslim soldiers could religiously justify being at war against Afghan Muslims and Iraqi Muslims. Others who know Hasan say he was upset about anti-Muslim harassment he had previously experienced from other soldiers.

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