Army imam says British Muslims can be good soldiers


Imam Asim Hafiz

The British armed forces' first Muslim chaplain says there is no conflict in being a Muslim and fighting for Britain.

Imam Asim Hafiz, an Islamic adviser to the Ministry of Defence, says Islam encourages the defence of life and country.

Muslims in the British military have been criticised by hardliners within the community, who have viewed their involvement in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as a betrayal of their faith.

Last month two men were convicted of murdering Lee Rigby, a British soldier, outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London.

They are due to be sentenced later this month.

Mr Hafiz, who was appointed by the MoD in 2005 and is one of two Muslim chaplains, says of the Afghanistan conflict: "There is no doubt a misunderstanding among the Muslim community that this is somehow a war against Islam.

"The military is out there trying to support Afghanistan and the Afghan people. They are not fighting a religion or a culture."

There are more than 650 Muslims in the British armed forces, up from 305 in 2005.

Mr Hafiz says: "Just because they join the armed forces doesn't mean they lose their soul or lose their faith. I've met many Muslims (in the forces) who are very devout."

But he said they did seek advice on how best to practise their faith within the armed forces.

"They come to me to ask, 'Do I have to fast when I'm on basic training and have to run eight miles?' Or, 'How do I pray when I'm on exercise?'" he says.

The problem with the army is twofold:

1. It limits personal morality and ethics.

2. It limits personal morality and ethics.

Before Blairs wars, there was probably less resistance in joining the army and it is often used for good (Sierra Leone, Kosovo).

But currently the bad wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan and other war crimes and conduct of individual soldiers which is watered over is a problem.

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'" - David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. 13 May 2015.

the problem doesn't lie in the armed forces, but in the leaders.

soldiers follow orders. the problem is where the orders come from.


there was a time when one would wear a red poppy quite happily. and dream about joining the armed forces. now...not so much, there's even such a thing as white poppy.

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

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