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Belief Beat

Check out this Washington Post story about Spec. Zachari Klawonn’s struggles as a Muslim soldier in the U.S. Army. (Funny how this story came out the same week as the news about the Army now welcoming Sikh men — whose traditional turbans and beards have also made them targets of Islamophobia, although Sikhism is unrelated to Islam — into service after a 25-year absence.)

Klawonn, 20, apparently a model soldier, says he has been subjected to all sorts of physical and psychological harassment. Here’s the gist:

Before he enlisted, the recruiters in his home town of Bradenton, Fla., had told him that the Army desperately needed Muslim soldiers like him to help win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet ever since, he had been filing complaint after complaint with his commanders. After he was ordered not to fast and pray. After his Koran was torn up. After other soldiers jeered and threw water bottles at him. After his platoon sergeant warned him to hide his faith to avoid getting a “beating” by fellow troops. But nothing changed.

Then came the November shootings at Fort Hood and the arrest of a Muslim soldier he’d never met: Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, who is charged with killing 13 people and injuring more than 30 in a massacre that stunned the nation. And with it, things only got worse.

Check out the story and the photo gallery, and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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