Devout Muslim Soldier Hopes to Avoid Deployment to Afghanistan

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"There are a lot of good Muslims who are serving in the U.S. Army and a lot of other places."

But there have been significant hurdles along the way for some.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Fort Hood massacre in Texas last year at the hands of disgruntled Army Maj. Nidal Hasan have caused some Muslim soldiers to report everything from raised eyebrows to teasing to downright discrimination.

Earlier this year, Muslim Army Spc. Zachari Klawonn expressed his frustration at the Army's response to a growing pattern of what he considered harassment and threats by his fellow soldiers, alleged abuse that he said only worsened after the Fort Hood shooting.

And although he'd like to see the Army do more to prevent discrimination against Muslim soldiers, he has never regretted enlisting, he told ABC News in April .

The Army makes every effort to ensure that its soldiers are able to maintain their faith, but the guidelines specifically state that what the Army deems a "military necessity" must come before religious practices for all faiths.

The son of a Muslim father and a non-denominational Christian mother, Abdo was raised in both religions and decided to delve into his Muslim heritage as a teenager, identifying with how Islam advocated the idea of community.

But in the Army, Abdo said, he has found that his fellow soldiers look down on him when he makes time for his five-times-a-day prayer schedule and other Muslim traditions. Once he filed his claim, Abdo said, he was pulled out of a Pashto language class as retaliation. Pashto is spoken in Afghanistan.

Although Fort Campbell employs an imam on base, Abdo prefers instead to seek counsel from his personal circle of Islamic advisers, he said.

"In my experience, they don't know their religion," he said of base imams. "They don't know their faith."

Now, he said, he wants out of the Army so he can spend his life combating what he called Islamaphobia and advocating Islam as a peaceful religion.

"I want to use my experience to show Muslims how we can lead our lives," he said. "And to try and put a good positive spin out there that Islam is a good, peaceful religion. We're not all terrorists, you know?"

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