WESTERN PACIFIC (NNS) – Four Muslim crew members aboard USS Shiloh (CG 67), currently deployed to the 7th Fleet Area of Operations (AOO), began a month-long fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, May 27th.
To observe Ramadan, Muslim crew members must abstain from consuming any form of sustenance from dawn until dusk.
"This is my first Ramadan as a Muslim," said Fire Controlman 1st Class Carl Morinville, from Queens, New York. “I come from an immigrant family: my father is from El Salvador and my mother from Haiti. Growing up in America gave me the opportunity to explore different faiths and to choose my own path,” he said.
“As I learned about Islam, I found a path I connected with: to do good for the sake of humanity and not just for myself,” he said. “I was attracted to this mindset because it was in line with the leadership values I have learned in the Navy. My faith encourages me to let go of working for myself and to work instead for the growth of others.”
"Indeed, fasting during Ramadan gives me a greater spiritual understanding and rejuvenates my faith in relating to the poor and the needy," Morinville said.
The Department of the Navy's policy under SECNAVINST 1730.8B states that Sailors and Marines have the right to practice any religion as long as it does not have an adverse impact on the command's health, safety or mission-readiness.
"Whatever a person's religious background, the Navy's policy is to reasonably accommodate that person's religious needs," said Lt. Jason M. Olson, Shiloh’s chaplain. "We are able to arrange meals for our Muslim Sailors before sunrise and after sunset. As long as we can accomplish the mission, we are totally committed to freedom of worship -- one of our most important American values is to treat all religions equally."
Shiloh’s Muslim Sailors are very grateful that they are able to freely attend prayer services, as well as observe Ramadan.
"Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam," said Logistics Specialist Senior Chief Yayah Sesay, a Muslim Sailor from Sierra Leone. "I have enjoyed the ability to practice my faith during my career in the US Navy."
Shiloh is deployed in the Western Pacific, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.