American soldiers come in all colors, they can be from anywhere and are a cross section of the peoples from all of the varied places Americans come from…
Inside the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Chapel, a female Air Force sergeant unlaced her combat boots, set them under the pews and slipped her black veil around her hair and over her camouflaged uniform.
The men pushed back the altar for Christian services to make room for their large green prayer rugs; then they moved the podium from one side of the room to the other so that the congregation would be facing Mecca.
“Allah akhbar,” called out Ali Mohammed, a contractor who works at the Pentagon, raising his hands to his face as he chanted the call to prayer. While politicians and others across the country in an election year debate the propriety of building a Muslim center, including a mosque, two blocks from the former World Trade Center site in New York, there’s no sign of such debate at the Pentagon.
Instead, about 400 worshipers, including Muslims, attend prayer services every week in the chapel, a non-denominational facility built over the rubble left behind when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon.
Opponents of the New York mosque say it would be disrespectful of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, to allow Muslims to pray near the World Trade Center site.
That’s never been an issue at the Pentagon, where 125 people who worked there died that day. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon’s chapel since 2002, gathering every day at 2 p.m. around the time of the second of five prayers Muslims are supposed to offer daily. Read the rest of this entry »