Muslims in US Military Suffer Conflicts, Criticism

Face distrust from military, flak from mosques
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2009 7:18 AM CST
An unidentified U.S. soldier patrols next to a U.S. flag at half mast on a military ship docked in Manama, Bahrain, on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
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(Newser) – As the American Muslim community takes pains to distance itself from Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shootings add misery to the already complicated lives of Muslims serving in the armed forces. Drawn to the military by patriotism, Muslim soldiers arrive in Afghanistan or Iraq to find themselves confronting fellow Muslims in battle, while fighting alongside soldiers who spew slurs like "raghead"—then return home to take flak at the local mosque for "killing Muslims," the New York Times reports.

“It’s kind of like the Civil War, where brothers fought each other across the Mason-Dixon line,” one veteran of Iraq tells the Times. “I don’t want to stain my faith, I don’t want to stain my fellow Muslims, and I also don’t want to stain my country’s flag.” The military itself shows ambivalence towards Muslim recruits: Their language skills and cultural expertise are urgently needed, but individual Muslims are suspect, a mistrust likely to worsen in the wake of Fort Hood.