British Military to Appoint First Muslim Chaplain

August 22, 2004

Source: Khaleej Times

Wire Service: AFP

On August 22, 2004 Agence France-Presse reported, "Britain’s army forces are to get their first Muslim chaplain, a defense ministry source was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying. The company and counsel of a salaried cleric may be able to 'help persuade' the 300-plus Muslims in the army, navy and Royal Air Force to stay in service despite ongoing conflict in Muslim countries, the paper said. Although the military provides prayer facilities and halal foods for Muslims and allows them to grow beards and observe Ramadan, it has until now only had Christian religious counselors for troops... But the appointment could hit a snag over the issue of homosexuality, since Islamic law condemns it as a sin but British policy bans discrimination on the basis of sexuality. 'It will be almost impossible to find an imam in this country who condones homosexuality,' Shahid Raza, head imam at the Leicester Central Mosque and a leading Muslim figure, said."