Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Muslims in the US military

This topic has always been a sensitive one in the American Muslim community. It seems that quite a few members of the US military are Muslims. I had not really given much thought to the issue until I saw a brother (fellow Muslim) at the Islamic Center of Tucson wearing full desert fatigues. The site was quite jarring considering I had never seen anything like it before. I ate lunch with the brother as many in the mosque looked on at him as if he was wearing a clown suit. We talked about his background and his recent tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I attempted to subdue my feelings for telling this brother that he was fighting an unjust and illegal war and that his participation in these campaigns is against the principles of Islam. Some other brothers joined our conversation eventually. One of the brothers politely asked the question that was on everyones mind.
"Did you kill anyone?"
Whoa. I was shocked that he asked the question so bluntly. The answer was a silent one but we all saw the look on his face. The answer was there. The brother quietly finished eating and excused himself from the table which we were all sitting. That was that.
I recalled this story today after reading this article on the BBC about a Muslim chaplain in the US Marines. (read more here)
As Muslims, we live by a few principles and guidelines. One of those is the accountability for one's actions, especially in acts of war.

مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا

The Quran 5:32 On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.

There is no "I was only doing my job" defense in this case. Even if you are serving in the military, you are not exempt from the above verse. If a commanding officer, boss, President, orders one to commit injustice one is very liable for his or her decision. Wars are not only fought by governments, they are fought by individual soldiers who make conscious decisions to follow orders.


Blue Rose said...

it's chaos, people make decisions for different reasons and we can't really judge that on the contrary. Why don't we confront terrorists who kill hundreds everyday, if we are willing to "act" now and bring verses such as those from qura'an then tell me where was the verse that the terrorists used to support their fatwa's in killing Shiite muslims like us, what qura'an did the terrorist leaders use to spread out fatwa's in the name of islam to kill innocent lives. War is something ...and terrorism is another thing. War is meant to loss of people, but terrorism volunteers to kill people. I was listening to NPR as they were reporting some terrorist speaking out and saying we don't wanna kill innocent muslims we just wanna kill Soldiers.. I was like thats BS!!!

Our only main concern to be worried about really is terrorism and religious extremists. Those 2 things need to be ended and over with. If religious extremists want to run billions of people under one way of thinking then they have to be gotten rid of, terrorism on the other hand there is no question about it's got to STOP!

someone has to stop it, I don't think it matters if it means a world war III but it needs control otherwise it will keep spreading and lives will be lost. That verse says a whole lot when you read the "tafseer"

and poooooooooor innocent people all we can do is make du'a and pray!

Jaas said...

There are more problems than just religious extremists. They generally get their weapons from a source that can care less about their ideologies.