The U.S. Army has chosen Lt. Col. Khallid Shabazz, a Muslim chaplain to be a spiritual leader for 14,000 mostly Christian soldiers. When he found out that he had been chosen as chaplain he says he jumped around like a little kid, running around the office saying, “al hamdulillah, al hamdulillah, praise be to God!”
Pam Gellar reports:
Out of 1,400 chaplains in the Army, only five are Muslim. And across all the services, there are only ten Muslim chaplains total.
Shabazz, formerly known as Michael Barnes, was born Lutheran in Louisiana. He later joined the Army at 23 and was stationed in Germany, where he worked with a Muslim soldier. He says he quickly grew tired of the Muslim soldier bragging about Islam, so he challenged him to a public debate.
The ensuing debate while on base caused Shabazz to reevaluate his religion. He subsequently converted and changed his name, before encountering struggle after struggle in the Army and later joining on with the Chaplain Corps.
Shabazz said he is not interested in converting anyone to Islam, but some soldiers do end up converting.
“My job is not to convert anybody to Islam,” Shabazz said. “God guides people. My only goal is to have people leave my office stronger than when they came in.”
Most of the time, Shabazz spends his hours advocating for Islam, so as to prevent “anti-Muslim” incidents at bases.