Muslim Woman Soldier Proud of her Iraqi Tour

August 4, 2005

Source: New Haven Register

On August 4, 2005 the New Haven Register reported, "Leafing through her scrapbook from her tour in Iraq, National Guard Sgt. Tanya Abdul-Karim Williams admires the final entry: a photo showing Iraqi women enthusiastically holding signs after Saddam Hussein’s capture. 'This shows the Muslim sisters and how happy they are. Look what they’re saying: "Iraq is free,"' said Williams, reading the Arabic words on the signs. 'They’re free.'

As a Muslim woman, Williams praises the liberation of Iraq she and her 118th Medical Battalion helped secure during their yearlong tour of duty. The battalion, based in Newington, returned home Feb. 3.

Iraqi leaders are working to finish the drafting of a new constitution by Aug. 15 despite contentious issues, such as the role of Islamic law, which some believe restricts women’s participation in society.

But Williams said the Qur'an, the Islamic holy book, demands freedom.

'If you read the Qur'an, you are not to oppress women,' said Williams, the only soldier in her 300-member battalion who practices the Islamic faith.

There are 3,794 Muslims serving in active duty in the U.S. armed services, according to military data."