In February, a Muslim physician named Mariah (whose Beliefnet moniker is "docwitchy") informed her friends on the Women in Islam discussion board that she and her husband Ahmed had been called up to serve in the campaign against Iraq. She and Ahmed (a.k.a. "cutter65"), are both U.S. Army Reserve surgeons. The news of their imminent departure for Kuwait began a lively debate about whether Muslims should serve in the U.S. military. The discussion stopped when she and Ahmed left Kuwait for Iraq.

Surprisingly, a few days ago Mariah reappeared. She had a temporary break from her work in Iraq and wrote to her Beliefnet friends about her impressions from the front.

Directly below are her most recent posts from the Mideast. On the following pages are highlights from the original discussion as they prepared to go overseas.

At War

Worse Than I Expected
April 5
"I never thought I'd welcome a case of intestinal flu, but it got me out of Iraq and back to Kuwait for a day or two. We've been treating many more Iraqi prisoners than Americans or British soldiers. This is my first time, and please Allah, my last time, in a war and it's worse than my husband, who has been in one before, told me [it would be]. So many young men, and some women, hurt, and too many civilians.

After the fighting is over we expect to work with the Iraqi docs. Right now we leave supplies with them as we pass. You have no idea what some of the fedayeen are doing--forcing people to fight by threatening their families and using women and sometimes children to hide behind. If anyone deserves a place with shaitan it is these men and all of Saddam Hussein's followers. I hope this is over soon. Ahmed and I pray for that every day and night unless we are too tired and just fall asleep when we can."

May it be Resolved with Justice
April 5
"May Allah bless and keep you and Ahmed well. I think of you often and pray for your safe return, as well as for everyone else in this awful situation. May it all be resolved with justice, whatever that may be--only Allah knows, and may all well-intentioned people make it home to their families."


Returning to my MASH
April 5
"I'm returning to my MASH in a few hours. I pray that the next time I am able to write, this war will be over and we'll have begun healing and building. Iraq deserves this, and I look forward to the time, soon insh'Allah, when we'll no longer be treating battlefield casualties and will be able to begin helping the Iraqi people...and even more for the time when we return home. May Allah bring reconciliation and peace...soon!"


Saying Goodbye from America

What follows is the original discussion, in chronological order, that ensued when "docwitchy" and "cutter65" told the message boards they were being called up to serve in the military.

Heading Off With Our Reserve
February 12
"It came as no surprise, but Ahmed and I had hoped it wouldn't happen. Major Ahmed, and Captain Mariah, Medical Corps, U.S. Army Reserve, are putting on our uniforms and heading off with our reserve medical brigade, which has been called up. We're just going to a post in the United States initially, but who knows where to next. We are packing our laptop so we'll try to keep in touch. We're going to miss our doggie, and kitties, and horsies a lot. And a lot of our human friends too.
Mariah...the (oh my GOD...) soldier"


February 12
"Go perform surgeries on the disbelievers and try to spare their lives when they get hurt trying to kill your own brothers and sisters..very noble deed.. good luck on your very Islamic deed!"

"The hypocrites are always confused, always planning deceit and plots. Although outwardly they appear to be with the believers, inwardly they are with the kaafireen. Surah 4:143"


We'll Miss You
February 12
"Wahhh!! We will miss you both. Stay safe and keep in touch! Don't worry about [altaariq]. While you're readying yourselves to serve, he and his donkey will be smug at home watching the disbelievers on "The Bachelorette" tonight."