Proud Muslims serving in the U.S. Armed Services

November 11, 2009

November 11, 2009

As people struggle to make sense of the recent tragedy at Ft. Hood, and in particular the role Islamic faith plays in the life of accused gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan, we are reminded yet again how necessary it is to better understand the nuances that animate the myriad religious traditions of the world.

As I often say in my classes, there are in fact a plurality of beliefs and practices (i.e. a great spectrum) that fall under the umbrella of a given religious tradition. In other words, ultimately there is no such thing as "Buddhism" per se, but rather there are countless numbers of "BuddhismS". Consequently it is non-sensical to suggest all Buddhists are the same. In a similar vein I urge people to exercise great caution when considering Maj. Hasan as a Muslim, lest they generalize too broadly in regards to Islam.

The role Islam plays in Maj. Hasan's life will become more apparent as the investigation continues. In the meantime I encourage everyone to learn as much as they can about this vibrant religious tradition. Countless numbers of proud Muslims currently defend our country thru their work in the various branches of the U.S. Armed Services. On this Veteran's Day, the least we can do to honor their service is to seek to better understand their faith.

Below you will find a brief interview from yesterday on NPR, which comments on Muslims in the U.S. military. The conversation is with Imam Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain at the National Naval Medical Center and Georgetown University.

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