U.S. Army Imam Torn Between Faith and Duty

October 15, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AFP


On October 15, 2004 Agence France-Presse reported, "Abdel Rachid Muhammad, the US army's first ever imam, shared the first day of Ramadan with a handful of soldiers torn between their religion, which forbids most killing, and duty to their country. 'It is very difficult for a Muslim to be here with a weapon. There's no pride in killing,' said the 51-year-old religious leader, dressed in the army uniform. But in a mark of his singularity, Sheikh Muhammad has his name in Arabic sewn onto his shirt pocket -- even though this son of American Baptists who converted at the age of 15 knows only the Arabic of the Muslim holy book, the Koran. In Iraq for the past eight months, the imam said he had really wanted to meet religious Iraqis and 'go to Friday prayers in a local mosque,' an impossible dream given the problems of security. 'It is very hard to be Muslim and American here,' said the father of seven children."