In one of the most head-scratching turn of events in recent military history, the Army has decided that the man most capable of handling the spiritual needs of 14,000 mostly Christian soldiers is Muslim chaplain Lt. Col. Khallid Shabazz.
Sure, there are about 1,400 other chaplains (only 10 of whom are Muslim), but Shabazz has apparently done something that gives his Army superiors confidence that he’s the best man for the job.
Army Lt. Col. Khallid Shabazz, a Muslim chaplain, has accepted the job of handling the spiritual affairs of 14,000 mostly Christian soldiers.
Shabazz recounted to McClatchy the offer he received to lead the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“I’m on the phone saying, ‘Thank you, I appreciate it. I’ll serve honorably,’ and then I hang up the phone and I’m jumping all around like a little kid,” Shabazz said. “I was running around the office saying, al hamdulillah, al hamdulillah, praise be to God!”
Out of 1,400 chaplains in the Army, only five are Muslim. And across all the services, there are only ten Muslim chaplains total.
“When you get the call saying you have been bestowed a division, the news is kind of like, unearthly,” Shabazz added. “The list is so small and it’s such a tough cut.”
For those concerned about the odd juxtaposition of a Muslim being in charge of the spiritual care of Christian soliders, Shabazz reminds everyone that he used to be a Christian and so he can speak to their problems using Christian language and Scripture without violating his own faith. He also recounts the story of his Christian mentor who made him promise to be a fair-minded chaplain.
When he was commissioned, Shabazz said, his mentor pulled him aside for a talk.
“He said, ‘Promise me you will be an advocate for our corps no matter what the faith or the background of the person is,’ ” Shabazz recalled. “It moved me to the very essence of my core. Here you have a devout Christian who’s taken the time to care for a young Muslim soldier and make sure I got to be a chaplain. I don’t want to help just Muslims. I don’t want to help just Christians. I want to help people who are in distress.”
Shabazz has also gone a long way to reassure everyone that he has no interest in converting the soldiers who come to him for counsel, even if they may be sharing their deepest most intimate feelings and fears.
“My job is not to convert anybody to Islam. God guides people. My only goal is to have people leave my office stronger than when they came in.”
Sometimes, though, soldiers do convert and turn to Shabazz for guidance as they enter Islam. One of the most unusual conversions came just three months ago, Shabazz said. A master sergeant in the Special Forces – a man who’d come to no Friday prayers or study groups – showed up, crying, to meet with Shabazz. He told the imam he was ready to take shahada, the modest ritual to officially accept Islam.
“He said, ‘I heard you’re a good chaplain. I’ve been thinking about Islam for about three years,’ ” Shabazz recalled. “I took him down to the mosque, he took shahada and I’ve never seen him again.”
While this may seem like simply another step in the integration of Islam into Western culture, it’s just not so. As we’ve seen time and time again, Islam as an ideology is incompatible with Western culture. The beliefs, philosophies, and ideals of Islam are contrary to the beliefs, philosophies, and ideals of Western and American culture. On another level, the decision to give a Muslim chaplain charge of the spiritual affairs of an entire division is simply irresponsible. Instead, Chaplain Shabazz should have simply been given charge of the Muslim soldiers in the division, and one of the many qualified Christian candidates should have been given the duty to care for the mostly Christian division.
Bowing to political correctness in a matter as serious as the spiritual care of our soldiers is not simply foolish, but it is immoral and unethical. Our soldiers deserve better.