Do not eat or drink in front of Muslims, and learn more about their religion.
That’s the directive that has gone out to active duty military personnel at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, a Department of Defense medical and graduate school in Bethesda, Md.
The brigade commander sent an email to military personnel at the facility last month – just before the start of Ramadan – advising them to show respect to Muslim colleagues.
“This is a period of great personal restraint and commitment in addition to renewed focus on worship,” Brigade Commander Col. Kevin Glaszwrote. “I’d like to encourage you to learn just a little more about this religion, but more importantly, I’m asking you to be considerate and do not consume food or drink in front of our Muslim colleagues; it is a simple, yet respectful action.”
During the month-long period known as Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours.
The brigade commander also provided a link to a website about Islam, and specifically Ramadan.
Now that raised the ire of some of the officers and doctors training at the USU, and several of them reached out to me with their concerns – provided I not disclose their names.
“I respect the intention behind this email, but note that there is no similar call honoring other faiths,” one Marine told me. “There is no similar invitation for non-Jewish colleagues to refrain from eating leavened products during Passover, or non-Christian colleagues to refrain from eating meat during Lent.”
The entire incident smells of political correctness, the Marine told me.
“Our veterans have sacrificed too much blood, sweat and tears to have their own rights and freedoms be sacrificed on the altar of progressive political correctness,” the Marine said.
I contacted USU about the email. I wanted to understand the brigade commander’s intent. I gave them 20 days to respond, but no one returned my calls or emails.
Another individual who studies at USU was concerned about the wording of the email.
“It could be construed as an order and one that violates the First Amendment freedom of everyone who received it,” my source said. “This is an appalling violation, especially coming on the heels of so many instances where those of conservative Christian faith in the military are vilified.”