Donald Trump has sparked a backlash ~ criticizing the parental of a slain Muslim American soldier. It’s another reminder the the challenges faced through Muslims in the us military.

You are watching: How many muslims serve in the us military


After serving in the us Marines because that eight years beginning in October 2000, Mansoor Shams never thought he"d have to one work prove his patriotism come his other Americans. A practicing Muslim who came to the united state from Pakistan once he was 6 years old, Shams, currently 34, joined the military greatly as a way "to acquire on my own two feet," but additionally because the felt a feeling of duty come his adopted country.

"My belief taught me the I have to be loyal to my nation of residence," that told "This message that"s being portrayed to the West the Muslims space not loyal to their nation is a believed that never occurred to me."


Mansoor Shams served in the us Marines because that eight years

But since September 11, 2001, the said, push to disprove that message has actually been dogging Muslims in the united state - even those who"ve donned a uniform. And also that pressure has only mounted in recent months v the rise of Donald Trump, whose anti-Islam rhetoric reached a heat pitch this weekend with his criticism of Khizr and also Ghazala Khan, whose child was killed while serving together an military captain in Iraq in 2004.

A farming rift

Trump"s comment - in which he criticized Ghazala for her silence as she stand by her husband ~ above stage and Khizr because that his accusations the Trump had actually "sacrificed nothing" - sparked an prompt backlash indigenous both Republicans and Democrats.

because that Muslim american such together Shams, the incident showed the farming rift between themselves and other other countrymen.

"There"s not enough conversation about Muslim sacrifice come the United says of America," Shams said, noting the Muslims have a long legacy of offer in the military.


The Khans garnered worship for their speech at the DNC in Philadelphia

A conflicted relationship

Muslim joining in the US army stretches earlier to human being War ns or previously according to some accounts, however the military has actually noticeably struggled to recruit members the the religious beliefs in the wake up of 9/11. That the almost 2.2 million existing active-duty and also reserve members of the united state military, just 5,896 self-identify as Muslim, according to an abc News report from critical December.

Recognizing the value of their language skills and cultural knowledge amid the continuous US visibility in the center East, the Army adopted the "09 Lima" regimen in 2003. The program, which specializes in translation and also interpretation, greatly recruits native speakers that Arabic, Pashto and also Farsi, among other languages.


Trump has been greatly criticized for his anti-Islam rhetoric

But Muslims in the US army have also been challenged with suspicion and also even anger end the previous several years. In 2009, US army Medical Corps psychiatrist Nidal Hasan shooting 13 civilization to death and also injured an ext than 30 rather at Ft. Hood, a military base in Texas. Plenty of in the Muslim-American neighborhood felt pressured to publically condemn Hasan"s actions.

Fighting suspicion

Shams, who spent 4 years as an active-duty maritime at Camp Lejeune in north Carolina, choose up on several of that mistrust in the wake of 9/11. While before fellow soldiers hardly seemed to care that he to be openly Muslim, afterward some started to look in ~ him differently.

"I did endure a level of Islamophobia. The wasn"t as common then together it is today," that said.

Shams claimed he to be impressed through what Khizr khan did, getting up on stage in former of the entire nation to denounce Trump. And he claimed he to be appalled by Trump"s response, dismissing the billionaire"s claim that building hotels and hiring too many of civilization was a kind of sacrifice ~ above par to that of the Khans" son.

See more: How Long Do Grand Ole Opry Shows Last, Frequently Asked Questions

other Muslim americans felt an in similar way and started sharing image of Muslim army members on social media. One user, himself a Muslim Marine, tweeted a photo of the Khans" so late son.