Soldiers overseas face cultural differences

By John Holloway
October 23, 2003

Wichita Eagle/KRT

The nightly news shows pictures of the easily observable challenges faced by American soldiers based in the Middle East, vicious attacks on daily brigades, and terrorist attacks on military bases.

But soldiers also face difficult challenges based on cultural challenges, according to an interview conducted by email with a Cabrini graduate. Different standards are given out weekly on how the military branches should act towards the homeland and their religion given which country they are stationed in.

“We need to understand and respect the Muslim culture which I agree with; it is their country,” Rick Cruz, a Cabrini alumnus currently enrolled with the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Bahrain, said. “However, it’s not okay for one of them to try and sell me a picture of the twin towers on fire with Osama Bin Laden’s face hidden in the sky! We respect them, they should respect us.”

Are the soldiers supposed to put aside their ethics while they fight overseas?

Cruz said that with all of the rules and regulations they have to follow, it is beginning to infringe on his personal morals and beliefs.

In a recent email Cruz sent, he included a list of rules he and his fellow officers have to follow during the Muslim holiday, Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year, which is entirely devoted to “meditation and spiritual purification through self discipline.”

Ramadan lasts one month this year starting on sunday, Oct. 26 and ending Monday, Nov. 24. Muslims fast during sunlight, which includes drinking water and eating bread. Soldiers do not have to fast. However they are expected observe the laws of Ramadan in public places such as buses and streets. If a non- Muslim does not follow these guidelines legal procedures will follow.

Coming from the U.S., it may be hard to observe religious law the same as government law. We have freedom of religion. In the Middle East, when a non-Muslim does not follow the religious law of Ramadan, Cruz’s said, “Such an act is also considered an infringement of the sanctity of the Muslim observance of this sacred period. A violation of these sanctions by a Non-Muslim may result in a fine, or if the offense is particularly gross, confinement.”

“We are not allowed to protest,” Cruz said. With this it does not matter what the soldiers feel towards the laws. They have to live with it until they come back home.

Posted to the web by Marisa Gallelli

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Holloway

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap