Muslim Americans in the US Military, Muslims in the United States Military, S Military Conflicts, Islam in the US Military, Muslim-American Troops, Muslim-American Military, top stories,

History of Muslim Americans in the US Military

 Muslims have been serving in the United States military since the American Revolutionary War. They have served in all major US conflicts including the War of 1812, American Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan. The Army Chief of Chaplains requested the creation of a Muslim chaplain insignia in 1993, which was made into a crescent-shaped design in 1994. As of 2015, there were approximately 5,896 American Muslims serving in the US military.

Contributions to US Military Conflicts

Prior to the 9/11 Attacks, Muslim individuals have a long history of serving their country in times of war, including World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Civil War. During the War of 1812, Bilali Muhammad, an African slave, led a group of 80 mostly Muslim slaves in defending Georgia's Sapelo Island from British attack, armed with muskets. During the Civil War, 291 Muslims are known to have fought, with Nicholas Said and Max Hassan being notable examples of Muslim soldiers. Before slavery was abolished, many African Muslim slaves also fought for America. Muslim Americans have served in various capacities in each of these conflicts, with some losing their lives in battle.

Recognition of Islam in the US Military

After World War II, a Muslim-American veteran named Abdullah H. Igram advocated for the inclusion of Islam as a religious option for servicemembers. He led an organization that provided additional tags in 1953, which soldiers were allowed to wear, leading to the inclusion of codes for "other" and "prefer not to say" on dog tags. By the time of the Vietnam War, servicemen could select from a wide range of spelled out religion names on their dog tags.

Challenges Faced by Muslim-American Troops

After the 9/11 attacks, the number of Muslim-American troops serving in the US military overseas increased. According to DHS figures, over 6,000 served in the ten years after the attack, with at least 14 being killed in Iraq. At the time of the data release, roughly 0.45% of the 1.3 million active members of the US military identified as Muslim. These soldiers face challenges such as the requirement to shave beards and limited access to dietary requirements in accordance with US military policy. The involvement of Muslim Americans in the military has received more attention in light of events such as 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, and the Khizr Khan speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Notable Muslim-American Military Personnel

Humayun Khan was a notable Muslim-American who served in the military. Born in the UAE to Pakistani parents, he graduated from the University of Virginia in 2000 and joined the U.S. Army's 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. Throughout his four years of service, he rose in ranks to become an officer before being killed in 2004 by a car bomb while saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. His parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, became publicly known after they spoke out against President Donald Trump's temporary immigration ban at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, creating an "unexpected and potentially pivotal flash point in the general election".