Source: The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON -- As US troops battle Islamic extremists abroad, the Pentagon and the armed forces are reaching out to Muslims at home.
An underlying goal is to interest more Muslims in the military, which needs officers and troops who can speak Arabic and other relevant languages and understand the culture of places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The effort is also part of a larger outreach. Pentagon officials say they are striving for mutual understanding with Muslims at home and abroad and to win their support for US war aims. Among the efforts to attract and retain Muslim cadets:
"There is a message here, and that is that Muslims and the Islamic religion are totally compatible with Western values," says Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England in an interview.
For the past two years, Mr. England has hosted an iftar, the feast that ends the daytime fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va. His guests have included ambassadors, leaders of the Muslim-American community, and Muslims who serve in the US armed forces