Selwyn Duke
Muslim soldier refuses deployment: won't be part of any war "U.S. army would conceivably participate in"
By Selwyn Duke
August 31, 2010

Twenty-year-old Naser Abdo joined the U.S. Army more than a year ago. Now that it's time to be sent to Afghanistan, however, he's having second thoughts. He is refusing deployment, claiming conscientious-objector status.

Has Pfc. Abdo suddenly developed an aversion to all war? Hardly. Here are his reasons, as reported by WSMV Nashville:

    he said he now believes Islamic standards would prohibit his service in the U.S. Army in any war.

    According to documents provided to The Associated Press, Abdo cited Islamic scholars and verses from the Quran as reasons for his decision to ask for separation from the Army.

    "I realized through further reflection that God did not give legitimacy to the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or any war the U.S. Army would conceivably participate in," he wrote.

    . . . "This is not about proving a point; it's about maintaining true to my Islamic faith and maintaining true to the American values," said Abdo.

Now, I would have a bit of a problem with any soldier who, after enlisting in the military, using resources during the course of his training and collecting a salary, suddenly has pangs of conscience when it's time to do the job for which he voluntarily signed up. But, as Fort Campbell (where Abdo has been assigned) representatives have said, they "recognize that even in our all-volunteer force, a soldier's moral, ethical and religious beliefs are subject to change over time." Thus, if Abdo had become an across-the-board pacifist, I might be able to manage a smidgeon of sympathy. (I would, however, still expect him to be required to pay back every cent the army expended during the course of his training.) But a change to a mindset that "would prohibit his service in the U.S. Army in any war" is a different matter altogether. And, although it's hardly necessary, let's place this in further perspective.

Since Muslims have been known to war against and kill one another, it doesn't seem that the problem is simply a matter of fighting other Muslims. Rather, it appears it's a matter of fighting Muslims on behalf of America, our little corner of Dar al-Harb. It seems that Abdo is taking the typical Islamist position that he won't participate in a war waged by infidel America — only one declared by Allah.

This is a treasonous attitude, as Abdo has served notice that his allegiance doesn't lie with our nation. And we have to wonder, if he believed that Allah declared a war against the U.S., would he become a domestic terrorist?

Common sense dictates that Abdo should not be deployed to a war zone, as someone harboring his beliefs would be a danger to fellow soldiers, if only because he cannot be relied upon to execute his duties. But he doesn't qualify for conscientious-objector status, either. Note that the Department of Defense (DOD) instruction on conscientious objection states that to qualify for the status an individual must sincerely object "to participation as a combatant in war in any form." The DOD then elaborates:

    3.5. War In Any Form. The clause "war in any form" should be interpreted in the following manner:

    3.5.1. An individual who desires to choose the war in which he or she will participate is not a Conscientious Objector under the law. The individual's objection must be to all wars rather than a specific war.

Obviously, Abdo doesn't object to "war in any form" — just the American form. As for the unstated "American values" he mentioned, I hope we resurrect the almost lost American value of accountability in his case. This would mean forcing him to repay the Army its investment in him and giving him a nice long stretch in a very American prison.

© Selwyn Duke


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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