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View Full Version : Canadian soldier leads Islamic prayers during tour in Afghanistan



Uthman
04-13-2009, 08:23 PM
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A group of people carried a large wooden cross to the back of a modest chapel at the Kandahar military base, but they were not Christian worshippers marking Good Friday.

They were Muslims preparing to make use of the plywood building for traditional Friday prayers - to be led one last time by a young Canadian officer who's going home soon to Petawawa, Ont.

Capt. Amir ElMasri, 29, of 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, said he never thought he would have led some 40 religious ceremonies during his tour of duty in the war-ravaged country.

Muslims on the coalition base - mostly expatriate civilian workers - were looking for someone fluent in English and Arabic to head their prayer services.

ElMasri, who grew up in Kuwait and is of Egyptian descent, fit the bill. "I was told I'd been volunteered," he said in an interview.

"I'm far from being an expert on Islam, I only did your basic Islamic studies. This is purely a voluntary effort for the well-being of the community on the Kandahar base."

He rarely had time to attend a service in a mosque when he's back in Canada. So he's been reading about his faith in books and online in order to prepare for the Friday prayers he led.

He kept his sermons very simple.

"Islam doesn't require it to be elaborate. A simple subject can give you the drive to continue in your duty as a Muslim until the next week."

Friday prayers are very important but one doesn't have to be an imam to officiate, ElMasri said.

The Kandahar base has two places of worship used by a number of religions. Many of the international coalition of forces have their own religious leaders. The buildings are converted for use by different faiths with a few adjustments.

For this particular service, the cross was removed from the wall and a curtain was drawn so that the altar and a stained glass window were out of view. Then prayer mats were spread on the floor near the front. A veiled female reporter was asked to move to the back because her arms were uncovered.

ElMasri said he's not bothered that the prayers were held in a church building because in the end it's a house dedicated to the Creator, no matter the religion.

There were only some 20 worshippers at first, but others slowly turned up. By the end of the ceremony, more than 50 were in attendance.

Their faces and skin colour reflected the diversity of contemporary Islam, faithfuls coming from places as far apart as Bosnia and Indonesia. Some wore traditional embroidered trousers; others sported baseball caps flipped backward.

ElMasri told them about the importance not only of reading the Qur'an but of understanding it.

"It's like a car that needs to be warmed in winter," he said. "Hearts also need to be warmed up to truly understand the Qur'an."

He alternated with apparent ease between English and Arabic while reading from the Suras, or chapters, of the Muslim holy book.

At the end of the service, a number of the faithfuls came forward to say their goodbyes.

"I've found this a experience very gratifying," ElMasri said. "I never thought I'd get so much from it."

Many of the faithful are of Indian, Pakistani and Turkish origin - and were impressed that he was fluent in Arabic, he said.

"I could read their enthusiasm. They would come see me, take my hand and tell me how happy they were to see me. That was my reward, that's what motivated me, because honestly, my schedule was full and it was often hard to find the time to prepare each Friday's sermon."

"A new door has been opened for me," he said. "I'm planning on becoming a Muslim military chaplain for the Canadian Forces. I've spoken with the main chaplains already."

He's aware that Taliban insurgents lay claim to the religious cause, but he believes that education will be the source of peace that will push out the extremists.

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Joe98
04-13-2009, 11:21 PM
This more evidence that the fighting in Afghanistan is not a war against Islam.


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Dawud_uk
04-14-2009, 05:35 AM
:sl:

this man is an apostate by his deeds, his actions negate his emaan is a matter clearly known by necessity.
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Uthman
04-14-2009, 09:38 AM
Greetings Joe98,
Originally Posted by Joe98
This more evidence that the fighting in Afghanistan is not a war against Islam.
How so? Is it because a Muslim is participating in the war on the side of the US?
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Uthman
04-14-2009, 09:38 AM
Originally Posted by Dawud_uk
:sl:

this man is an apostate by his deeds, his actions negate his emaan is a matter clearly known by necessity.
Wa 'Alaykum As-salaam akhee

Allah will judge this man by his intentions though, right?

:w:
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Dawud_uk
04-14-2009, 09:50 AM
Originally Posted by Osman
Wa 'Alaykum As-salaam akhee

Allah will judge this man by his intentions though, right?

:w:
you need to come to a correct understanding of that hadith, it cannot be taken out of context of the rest of the deen.

there are certain matters which are known by necessity, some of these are matters of kufr which will take you out of the fold of islam.

one of these matters of allying with the kuffar against the muslims as this man is doing.

now you might say 'ah but what was in heart?'

this is really quite irrelevent, this is because emaan is in the heart, on the tongue and in the limbs, the inner and the outer reflect one another.

so just as a man is a kaffir if he bows to the cross, whether he believes it to be allowed or not, a man who allies with the kuffar is also a kaffir, both are matters known by necessity with no excuse other than being forced.
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Uthman
04-14-2009, 10:00 AM
:sl: akhee,
Originally Posted by Dawud_uk
you need to come to a correct understanding of that hadith, it cannot be taken out of context of the rest of the deen.

there are certain matters which are known by necessity, some of these are matters of kufr which will take you out of the fold of islam.

one of these matters of allying with the kuffar against the muslims as this man is doing.

now you might say 'ah but what was in heart?'

this is really quite irrelevent, this is because emaan is in the heart, on the tongue and in the limbs, the inner and the outer reflect one another.

so just as a man is a kaffir if he bows to the cross, whether he believes it to be allowed or not, a man who allies with the kuffar is also a kaffir, both are matters known by necessity with no excuse other than being forced.
JazakAllah Khayr. I would like to know more about these matters which are known by necessity. Do you know of any reliable resources online which explains this?

:w:
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Dawud_uk
04-14-2009, 11:35 AM
i dont know of anything off the top of my head but will look for you and see what i can find.
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Trumble
04-14-2009, 02:45 PM
Originally Posted by Osman
Greetings Joe98, How so? Is it because a Muslim is participating in the war on the side of the US?
A large number of muslims are participating in the war on the same side as the US, the vast majority of whom happen to be Afghans who just don't want a society where barbarism like THIS is the norm. For some reason they always seem to be forgotten.
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Uthman
04-14-2009, 03:20 PM
Greetings Trumble,
Originally Posted by Trumble
A large number of muslims are participating in the war on the same side as the US, the vast majority of whom happen to be Afghans who just don't want a society where barbarism like THIS is the norm. For some reason they always seem to be forgotten.
Indeed. Just to make my position clear, I don't necessarily believe that the war in Afghanisation is a war on Islam. However, I don't think that the article that I posted constitutes evidence of this which is why I asked Joe98 the question.

Peace
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Dawud_uk
04-14-2009, 03:47 PM
Originally Posted by Trumble
A large number of muslims are participating in the war on the same side as the US, the vast majority of whom happen to be Afghans who just don't want a society where barbarism like THIS is the norm. For some reason they always seem to be forgotten.
you are taking this lie as proof against the taliban?

this is a lie because the punishment in shariah in this case is not death but flogging even if proven so they were not taliban. the taliban are religious students who would know this.

now that doesnt mean a bunch of village elders couldnt have passed such a verdict but that doesnt mean they are taliban just because they oppose the secular government.

now there are certain fundemental points which must be accepted in any religion, one of them in islam is the necessity of islamic law - the shariah, indeed anyone who denies it or rules by other than it or supports those ruling other than by the shariah is considered an apostate no matter what there name or family etc.

this includes those fighting for or supporting the secular government of afghanistan.
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burdenofbeing
04-14-2009, 06:22 PM
the war in afghanistan is not a war against islam.
the war against islam is one of the justifications for the war in afghanistan.
drugs are the reason of the occupation of afghanistan.
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Joe98
04-15-2009, 02:20 AM
Originally Posted by Osman
Greetings Joe98, How so? Is it because a Muslim is participating in the war on the side of the US?

Because the Muslim in question is not being shot at by the Americans.

If it were a war on Islam this nman would have been killed by now.

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Joe98
04-15-2009, 02:25 AM
Originally Posted by Dawud_uk
now there are certain fundemental points which must be accepted in any religion

one of them in islam is the necessity of islamic law - the shariah,
There are some aspects of Islamic law which are quite positive.

The "barbaric" part is not Islamic law. It is Islamic punishment that is barbaric.
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YusufNoor
04-15-2009, 03:55 AM
Originally Posted by burdenofbeing
the war in afghanistan is not a war against islam.
the war against islam is one of the justifications for the war in afghanistan.
drugs are the reason of the occupation of afghanistan.
:sl:

i believe we have a winner here. drugs and the Caspian pipeline!
could you expound?

my understanding is the pre-invasion Taliban counryside had reduced the poppy production by over 90%. with the US economy based upon credit [thin air, actually], drug money IS desperately needed for there to be any kind of cash flow. if there is no drug money in circulation, there is no money.

the US went in to get production back up! most CIA heads are from Wall St, their job is to keep the drug money rolling in.

:w:
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