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March 25, 2003

Martial Muslims

Beliefnet has an article highlighting the split in the Muslim community between those who think it is acceptable to join the American military forces and those who do not. Please note that this is not a new problem. During the Franco-Prussian and Austro-Prussian Wars in the 19th century there was some worry among the junker officer corps that newly incorporated Catholic Germans would not fight against co-religionists (this turned out to not be a problem). Additionally, early Christians generally did not join the Roman military because they considered the state inimical to their own interests. The legions remained one of the last bastions of paganism in the Roman state-early in the 5th century the emperor rescinded an order that officers had to be Christian because of objections from followers of the old cults that were well represented among the centurions (the rankers were almost all German at this point). I understand that American Christians have fought against Christian powers, but then, America is a Christian nation itself. The situation with Muslims is not quite analogous, as it seems quite likely that the next few years will involve a fair amount of conflict with Muslim polities, and Muslim soldiers will have to fight under the command of Christian officers.

Posted by razib at 07:16 PM