Canadian army officer also works as base Imam in Afghanistan

Held in a makeshift mosque – a Christian chapel temporarily stripped each week of its religious insignia – Cpt. Amir ElMasry’s midday prayer meetings regularly draw around 100 Muslims who work a variety of jobs around the Afghan base, including translators, food servers and civilian contractors. ElMasry has no religious training. “I’m in no way an Islamic scholar. Like any other Muslim, I’ve done some average Islamic studies,” he said.

He claims to have felt a calling to put those into practice last fall during Ramadan, when he attended the Muslim prayer service and learned that the group was struggling with language barriers. Able to speak both English and Arabic, Cpt. ElMasry, normally based in Petawawa, volunteered to try leading the group. His tour is wrapping up this week and he’s scheduled to return to Canada. Unsure whether someone will replace him, Cpt. ElMasry is now considering joining the chaplaincy.

Share Button