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U.S. Army urges Afghan army to become more Islamic

July 16, 2009

Almost sounds like the start of a bad joke … A Baptist and a mullah walk into an Afghan village …. But seriously, folks, this WSJ feature today shows an unlikely religious collaboration between U.S. and Afghan military leaders. U.S. Army Capt. James Hill, a 27-year-old Baptist from Oklahoma, is mentoring Lt. Col. Abdul Haq, a 51-year-old army mullah. WSJ reporter Michael Phillips writes:

Capt. Hill’s faith-based mission is to counter the propaganda of Taliban fighters, who ride motorcycles through isolated villages spreading the word that the Afghan army is led by godless communists working to purge the country of Islam. Show the people that the army is a Muslim one, and they’ll be more likely to support it against the insurgents, his theory goes.

To that end, the captain supplies the army with prayer rugs to give out in villages. He requisitioned loudspeakers for 30 bases and checkpoints so locals can hear soldiers being called to prayer. And he spends long hours encouraging Afghan soldiers, particularly Lt. Col. Haq, to make a greater display of their faith.


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