The Pentagon has taken quite a series of steps to attract Muslims into the services, Richard Whittle documents in "Uncle Sam wants U.S. Muslims to serve."
Various military installations, including West Point and the other service academies, have opened Muslim prayer rooms. On June 6, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England joined in the dedication of a new Islamic prayer center at the Quantico Marine Corps Base.
The academies and some bases have hired full- and part-time imams to serve as chaplains. Asadullah Burgos, for example, works as a part-time imam at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Top non-Muslim officers and Pentagon officials have taken to celebrating religious events with Muslims. For example, England has hosted an iftar the past two years at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va., while Gen. Robert Magnus, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, held one for defense attachés from majority-Muslim countries at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington.
The Marine Corps has begun a "Middle East Cultural Outreach Program," conceived of by Gunnery Sgt. Jamal Baadani, that stations six Arab-American marines in major American cities as liaisons to the Arab-American community and advisers to recruiters. According to Baadani, "It is not a direct recruiting program," but its educates recruiters to avoid cultural mistakes and to foster good relations with Arab-Americans. The program's "overall objective ... is to develop solid relationships with the Arab and Muslim communities for the 21st and 22nd centuries. This isn't something that's just a Band-Aid treatment."
As England puts it, "There is a message here, and that is that Muslims and the Islamic religion are totally compatible with Western values."
Comment: England's statement, as well as the third and fourth bullets, fit the pattern I showed (with co-author Mimi Stillman) in early 2002 of official U.S. support to Islam in "The United States Government: Patron of Islam?" and have updated at "The United States Government, Still Patron of Islam." (January 6, 2007)
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