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.