This story is disturbing on several levels. I find it alarming that it appears Muslims are not forbade fighting in wars...just in fighting in wars against Muslims. Seems like this sort of gives a free pass to anyone calling himself a Muslim to do what he likes without fear of reprisal by other Muslims.
It also disturbs me that the Muslim Air Force chaplain testifying in this case, testified for the defense and said this Soldier did the right thing.
This does not bode well for the future of the Armed Services and Muslim members.
A 1st Infantry Division Engineer Brigade soldier who refused to deploy to Iraq citing religious beliefs was sentenced Thursday to 14 months’ confinement and given a bad-conduct discharge.
During his court-martial, Sgt. 1st Class Abdullah Webster, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of disobeying a lawful order from a superior commissioned officer and one count of missing movement.
When his unit was deploying on Feb. 8, Webster — the battalion security noncommissioned officer — told his leaders he would not deploy based on guidance he received from Muslim clerics...
Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Hamza Al-Mubarak, an imam based at Ramstein Air Base, testified for the defense that Webster had done the right thing.
Al-Mubarak said Webster consulted several Muslim scholars, and that he chose not to deploy because the clerics said it would be better for him to die than to bear arms against fellow Muslims.
“I would not say he’s an extremist,” Al-Mubarak testified during cross-examination. “He was adhering to the sincere advice of the scholars. It is not permissible for him to take up arms and kill another Muslim.
“It would be better for him that he was killed than to pick up arms against anyone.”
Webster had prepared a conscientious objector packet, but it was disapproved at the unit level. It has advanced to the 1st Infantry Division level, and if disapproved there, it will go to the Army level.
But Webster does not qualify as a conscientious objector, because he was not opposed to all wars, only wars in Muslim nations, Quigley said.
In closing remarks, Cunningham asked Hall to ignore the fact that Webster was a senior NCO with 18 years of service. Webster faced a maximum prison term of five years.
“Duty called; he didn’t answer,” she said. “There is a message to be sent. You cannot look at rank in this case.”