Muslims in Kaiserslautern reflect on their role in the military during Ramadan

Muslims pray on Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the Southside Chapel at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The women gather at the chapel with other congregants at night to break fast and pray, a tradition during Ramadan. JENNIFER SVAN/STARS AND STRIPES
From Stripes.com
Muslims pray on Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the Southside Chapel at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The women gather at the chapel with other congregants at night to break fast and pray, a tradition during Ramadan. JENNIFER SVAN/STARS AND STRIPES

Muslims in Kaiserslautern reflect on their role in the military during Ramadan

by: Jennifer H. Svan | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: June 19, 2017

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The congregants begin arriving at the Southside Chapel shortly after 9 p.m. on a recent Saturday. Music and laughter from a party outside one of the nearby dormitories fills the balmy June evening.

Senior Airman Christopher Sanders, 27, a base firefighter, is supposed to be working but his unit gave him a few hours off — not to party but to pray.

Sanders is a Muslim. Since the end of May, when the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began, he’s spent most Friday and Saturday nights at the Southside Chapel, breaking fast and praying with other Muslims living in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

After converting to Islam about four years ago after returning to his hometown in Colorado, Sanders has found acceptance for his religious views in the military despite the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment back home.

“For me to be in the military and a Muslim, I’m very grateful,” he said. “Allah has put good people around me. I don’t have to get the ridicule and stuff like that. There’s no tolerance for that in the military.”

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