Pentagon observes Muslim holy month Washington Times
Navy imam Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam lifted his voice to God as he called to prayer more than 100 Department of Defense employees Monday at a celebration of Ramadan at the Pentagon.
“God is most great,” sang the lieutenant commander and Islamic leader, in Arabic, as iftar — the end of the daily fast began.
Uniformed military personnel, civilians and family members faced Mecca and knelt on adorned prayer rugs chanting their prayers in quiet invocation to Allah.
As the Pentagon celebrated Ramadan, the White House is in preparations for an iftar feast tomorrow, said Lt. Cmdr. Saifulislam, who will be participating at the White House events.
“President and Mrs. Bush host an iftar dinner every year because they want people around the world to know how much they respect Islam and the many Muslims living in the U.S. who are free to worship as they want, and are an integral part of our society," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.
With the Pew Hispanic Center estimating the U.S. Muslim population in 2007 at 2.35 million people and growing, it's no surprise to see the Muslim population play an important role in all facets of government, said Defense Department officials.
Defense officials could not readily provide current estimates on the number of Muslim service members, but said the department works diligently to provide spiritual counseling and guidance to service members of all faiths.