Call for Muslim army chaplains Barnie Choudhury BBC News social affairs correspondent A Muslim member of the House of Lords, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, has called for full-time Muslim clerics to be employed in Britain's armed forces. British soldiers saw service in Iraq It follows an investigation by BBC News that found that around 300 Muslim servicemen and women are currently forced to seek religious guidance outside the military. In a letter seen by the BBC, the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says their number is not high enough to justify appointing full-time imams. Lord Ahmed says that view leads him to question the loyalty of the government to Muslims willing to die for Britain. Pastoral care At the moment, there is one full-time chaplain for around every 650 Christians in Britain's armed forces. Their job is to offer spiritual, moral and pastoral care to all service personnel, irrespective of religion. The Ministry of Defence relies on an advisory panel and religious contacts outside the services to help the remaining major non-Christian faiths. BBC News has obtained a letter from the defence secretary to his counterpart in the Foreign Office. In it, Geoff Hoon writes that currently with under 300 Muslims in the armed forces, he cannot justify full-time Muslim clerics. But this is not good enough for several leading Muslims in Britain, including a Labour member of the House of Lords, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham. He questions the loyalty of the government towards Muslims who are willing to go into battle and risk their lives Britain, given the fact there are no imams.