By: John Fairfield, Lieutenant General USAF (Retired)
(Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jackson Manske)
In February, 1st Lt. Saleha Jabeen became the U.S. military’s first female Muslim chaplain, graduating from the Air Force Basic Chaplain Course at Maxwell Air Force Base.
The following is extracted from an Air Force article about her: https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2506448/first-female-muslim-chaplain-graduates-from-air-force-chaplain-corps-college/
Jabeen, a native of India, said she was grateful for the opportunity and aware of the responsibility she has to set an example and show that there is a place in the military for anyone who wants to serve.
“I did not have to compromise on any of my religious beliefs or convictions,” Jabeen said. “I am surrounded with people who respect me and are willing to receive what I bring to the table as a woman, a faith leader, and an immigrant. I am provided with numerous opportunities to learn and develop skills that best equip me to be a successful officer and a chaplain in a pluralistic environment. I get to provide spiritual care to all service members, guardians and families and advise the commanders on religious and moral matters regardless of my faith, ethnicity or gender. Like our boss says, it has never been a better time to serve as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps.”
Jabeen is passionate about her role as a chaplain and takes her duty as a spiritual mentor seriously.
“We all have a purpose that is specifically meant for us to fulfill,” Jabeen said. “We must listen to our heart and follow our conviction. It is important to have people in our lives who model that for us. Choose that kind of mentorship and choose good companionship. I just want people to remember that God, or higher power or the values that people uphold, remind us that we are all created with a plan: to become the best versions of ourselves. There is a ‘why’ for our existence and ultimately it is meant for us to be the best versions of ourselves. Commit to it, accomplish it and uplift others to do the same. Do all that needs to be done with kindness, generosity, resilience and the grit to never quit.”
We congratulate Lieutenant Jabeen and salute her for her service.
Won’t it be nice when we will not have to use the word “first” when considering gender, religion, or race?
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.