U.S. Navy Muslim Chaplain Ministers to Prisoners in Cuba

January 27, 2002

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On January 27, 2002, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that "the Muslim chaplain from Camp Pendleton who was rushed to Guantanamo Bay to minister to prisoners from the war in Afghanistan admits he was a little worried they might rebuff him... But that hasn't happened... 'I've been received very, very positively,' said Navy Lt. Abuhena Saif-ul-Islam in a telephone interview yesterday from U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba... 'My approach is to minister to them and not to convince them or to debate with them to be different,' Saif-ul-Islam said. 'But I present myself in a manner -- in the name of God, of course, as an example, as a role model -- so that if they think that they need to change, it's right in front of them'... Saif-ul-Islam has reviewed the menus to make sure the food is religiously correct. He's also working to get the prisoners Muslim head coverings, some supplemental prayer books and Korans in the various languages they speak... 'They were surprised that I'm in the U.S. military, in uniform, and an imam, who was here to serve them, considering who they are and their situation,' he said."