Armed Forces Presentation to the Muslim Council of Britain

#1
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker, and a small team of senior officers gave a presentation to the Muslim Council of Britain's governing body at the Islamic Cultural Centre, Regents Park on 12 March 2005.

The event was hosted by Iqbal Sacranie, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, the Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre.

The aim of the presentation was to speak directly to leaders of the Muslim community to explain what is being done to ensure that the Armed Forces is genuinely inclusive and representative of the society it exists to serve; to address any concerns and questions Muslim community leaders have about Muslims serving in the Armed Forces; and, more generally, to increase awareness of career opportunities on offer for young people, in particular those from the Muslim community.

The Chief of Defence Staff said:

"I would like to pay tribute to the Muslim Council of Britain's invaluable work to promote better community relations and increase knowledge and understanding of the Muslim faith within British society.

"The Muslim Council of Britain has made a real and lasting contribution to the creation of a just and tolerant society.

"I would also like to emphasise my personal commitment to creating Armed Forces which reflect more fully the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity of the society we serve. In return we can offer fulfilling careers and high quality training and education."

Responding, Mr Sacranie said:

"The MCB welcomes moves by our Armed Forces towards greater recognition of the needs of its Muslim recruits. The establishment of the post of a Muslim Adviser to the Ministry of Defence and the recently proposed appointment of an Imam to cater for the spiritual welfare of British Muslim recruits are both commendable steps.

"We hope that we will see increased numbers of British Muslims taking up positions in our Armed Forces just as they have done so in other sectors of our society.

"For this to be successful, however, it is imperative that the high reputation of our armed forces is zealously protected and maintained and not allowed to be tainted by any misbehaviour or illegal actions."

There are just over 300 personnel in the Armed Forces who have declared their religion as Islam.

The Armed Forces are committed to creating a working environment in which everyone is not only valued and respected, but encouraged to realise their full potential, regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, social background or sexual orientation.

Religious belief is treated as a private matter but, recognising the unique and demanding circumstances of Service life, the Armed Forces aim to facilitate and support individuals' spiritual needs where they can, subject to vital considerations of operational effectiveness and health and safety.

Service dress regulations take account of cultural and religious differences, such as permitting individuals to wear items of religious significance. On occasion, there may be some restrictions regarding clothing worn in an operational environment, or where health and safety is an issue.

The Armed Forces make every effort to cater for all special religious dietary requirements. Halal (as well as Kosher and vegetarian) meals can be provided in Service Mess Facilities and are normally readily available in the form of Operational Ration Packs for operations and exercises.

The MOD's Religious Advisory Panel was established in 1998 to provide advice to the MOD on faith specific issues. It comprises representatives of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities.
 
#3
How long will it be until the MCB demands a new regt for the British army.
What about - Allah's royal regt of suicide bombers?

Any further suggestions???
 
#4
Here's one

Try posting under your normal user name. Any danger of answering my questions yet?
 
#6
Rather than play up to these people, we should take on more soldiers of Thai parentage. They don't complain about certain foods being taboo or nost Kosher/Halal - they'll eat anything.

A couple of years back a wildlife reserve in Israel reported a sudden decline in the population of various of their protected species.

The reason only came to light when someone visited a neighbour (whose cook was Thai) and was offered - and partook of - an unusual dish. On asking the ingredients they were alarmed to find they'd enjoyed their own stock. Various locals had Thai staff, and many had been wandering about, catching anything they could, and serving them up.

Another from Israel, the only Pig Farm in the country is doing roaring business, as a significant minority are prepared to dine on pork. When well cooked on a barbecue the stripes are use to explain the pmeat away as being Zebra steaks.
 
#7
Damn you got me>>>

to cut a long story short - war mem's - left alone
gurkha's - returned to base, under our govt. all british troops will be based in uk. Lets face it, they are only in it for the money. So they will probably jump at the vol. repat. scheme.

what else do you need to know??????????
 
#8
Well the RAF grovelled and fawned at the homosexuals, so the Army grovels and fawns to the Muslims.

Should be interesting to see a section made up of homosexuals and Muslims....
 
#9
whiffler said:
Rather than play up to these people, we should take on more soldiers of Thai parentage. They don't complain about certain foods being taboo or nost Kosher/Halal - they'll eat anything.

A couple of years back a wildlife reserve in Israel reported a sudden decline in the population of various of their protected species.

The reason only came to light when someone visited a neighbour (whose cook was Thai) and was offered - and partook of - an unusual dish. On asking the ingredients they were alarmed to find they'd enjoyed their own stock. Various locals had Thai staff, and many had been wandering about, catching anything they could, and serving them up.

Another from Israel, the only Pig Farm in the country is doing roaring business, as a significant minority are prepared to dine on pork. When well cooked on a barbecue the stripes are use to explain the pmeat away as being Zebra steaks.
Can absolutely confirm the pork in Israel! I was on a job in Netanya and on the Friday evening we sat down at a restraunt table in the main square. This little russian girl whispered to us that there were pork chops, did we want any? Too damned right, so there we were, four of us laughing our heads off, wolfing down pork in the middle of the square, on the Sabbat!
 
#11
Hopefully the idea is to get all minorities, religious or whatever, onside and get the best Forces etc that we can?

Also doesn't harm to show that Forces are approachable and not wasting all their kith and kin all over the place. Maybe a bit late for the last one! :wink:
 
#12
Bob_the_bulletproof said:
300 Muslims in the armed forces? Seems incredibly small, i know of 3 people in my unit who are muslim, and we are distinctly less than 1% of the armed forces
Does seem small, guess they're just quoting regular services only, I do know of few who left TA when Telic started (from family pressure)
 
#14
dui-lai said:
Part of me says good to address these things but another part says, why should be bow to the PC brigade :roll:
Indeed, true equality would mean everyone being treated the same - no special treatment for Muslims, pansies or anyone else.
 
#15
Much as I dislike PC language and thinking, I really don't see the problem with this initiative by CDS. Having seen him in action, I have no doubt that he gave an excellent and persuasive presentation.

The Armed Forces have long maintained links with other faiths. At the first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland following GW1, Army chaplains led by the then Chaplain-General attended in force, and delivered a much deserved bolloking for the way in which some ministers had allowed their opposition to the war to stand in the way of religious and moral support to serving members of the Church. You can't do that if there is no dialogue.

Dialogue with religious leaders is a standard component of peace support operations, and always has been, right back to colonial days. Somewhat ironic if we cant talk to religious faiths in our own country. Having established trust and dialogue, you can then go on to raise problems, such as dietary and clothing matters for which most faiths are quite capable of granting dispensation according to operational demands. So I approve.
 
#16
It may interest you to know that I lived for 2 years in Tel Aviv with a Messianic Jewish family (Christian Sect) and never wanted for anything. Bacon, Pork, Rear Quarter of Beef (Rump Steak) or any of the other 'forbidden' foods. Shops that sell such items are marked as 'Non-Kosha' and are legal to operate!

Go into an Orthodox Sector of the City, and it is a differant story. Shops are inspected by the Rabies, and each pays for a Kosha licence to trade!

Muslem 'Halal' Shops can also be found in Tel Aviv & Jerusalem by the way.
 
#17
Mike_2817 said:
It may interest you to know that I lived for 2 years in Tel Aviv with a Messianic Jewish family (Christian Sect) and never wanted for anything. Bacon, Pork, Rear Quarter of Beef (Rump Steak) or any of the other 'forbidden' foods. Shops that sell such items are marked as 'Non-Kosha' and are legal to operate!

Go into an Orthodox Sector of the City, and it is a differant story. Shops are inspected by the Rabies, and each pays for a Kosha licence to trade!

Muslem 'Halal' Shops can also be found in Tel Aviv & Jerusalem by the way.
Come over to Riyadh and check the difference in attitude.....
 
#18
Back on subject though, it has been noted here in the past that some serving muslims must adopt the same kind of tactics as soldiers from NI when on leave. Muslem communities still are very, very closed off to outsiders and the level of suspicion that a soldier would generate in some UK muslim communities if they knet of their occupation would effectively make them an outsider. It is barriers such as these that the CGS must overcome to make these communities realise that their sons and daughters (fat chance of that) can serve their country.
 
#19
Slightly off-topic but just imagine a Muslim lad who has taken on board all the advice we see in the NAAFI forum, when on leave and let loose amongst all those repressed Muslim females.
 
#20
I really don't have a problem with it. The armed forces are supposed to represent the population they are drawn from, with obvious exceptions such as disabled people and so on. And before anyone starts, I'm not advocating quotas.
Historically the duty of care included providing for religious needs, and still does; these days of course most Christians are agnostic and don't go to church. However Muslim communities take their religion far more serously. If we provide Catholic and Methodist padres as well as Anglicans, and Jewish rabbis, then why not imams? The UK has, what, some 2 million Asians? More? Whatever the figure, the Muslim proportion of that certainly doesn't equate to a mere 300 in the armed forces. We - that's the white Anglo Saxons - don't think we discriminate against the Muslim community; I'm pretty certain that I'm fair and don't immediately think 'ooh, Muslim, bet he's got a bomb tucked in there'. I'm certain that when I look at a uniform I don't notice the white race, the brown race, whatever, just the 'green' race. I'm sure most of us are the same.
But that isn't what many Muslims feel. It isn't healthy for a community to withdraw into itself, we've seen that in nationalist Belfast haven't we? And for the few terrorists out there, it will mean more places to hide and less co-operation with the police to root them out. It's akin to the Irish living in London in the 70's. We do need to find out why many Muslims don't trust the country they live in.
The CDS does right, in my book.
 

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