I Was Ordered to Play Santa Clause

From: U.S. Soldier’s E-Mail Withheld
Subject: I Was Ordered to Play Santa Clause
Date: November 23, 2018 at 9:09:45 AM MST

 

Subject: (name and rank withheld) Ordered to Dress Up as Santa Claus at (unit name withheld) “Christmas Party”

 
To: Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)
 
Date: Friday, November 23, 2018
 
Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF, 
 
My name is (name withheld) and I am a (junior enlisted rank withheld) in the U.S. Army assigned as a (mission specialty title withheld) to the (unit name withheld) stationed at (overseas military installation withheld) in (Muslim nation name withheld)
 
As I am not the best writer my battle buddy (name and rank withheld) has helped me prepare this e-mail of thanks to you and the MRFF. I know it is coming a day late after celebrate Thanksgiving but this was soon as I could prepare it. I give thanks all day yesterday to the MRFF for getting me out of the humiliating problem my (unit name withheld) Commander (name and rank withheld) make for me a few days ago.
 
When he announce to our whole (unit name withheld) that this year we would not be having a (unit name withheld) “Holiday Party” but instead a (unit name withheld) “Christmas Party” because he say “Christmas is the real reason for the season.” I am not Christian. I am Muslim soldier. I speak both Dari and Pashto. And even (Muslim country name withheld) Sign Language. And that is one of many ways how I help serve America as member of the U.S. Army. I am promised to become American citizen if I can serve honorable in U.S. military. I am trying very hard to serve well. I love USA. I am proud to be American citizen one day.
 
Our Commander then say that changing the name of the (unit name withheld) celebration to “Christmas Party” cannot offend anyone. Because Christmas is not just for the Christians it is for everyone he say. What he then say next is why I needed help from the MRFF.
 
Our Commander then say he had found a Santa Claus costume for the celebration and want me to put on the Santa Claus clothes. To show that our “Christmas Party” was not just for the Christians. I was shocked and hurt. I was embarrass. Humiliated. 
 
Now everyone know I am Muslim. Everyone know we are deployed to (country name withheld). Which is a Muslim country. I did not want to be force to play Santa Claus.  I call my parents and they were afraid for me to say no to (name and rank of Commander withheld). But they were angry and also confuse. So my battle buddy knows of the MRFF. He seen Mr. Weinstein stand up for all soldiers and military fighters before. He say to call Mr. Weinstein. I call Mr. Weinstein and he answer his own phone. He was nice. And said I was a good soldier. And not bad to ask for help.
 
After I told him about being told by our (unit name withheld) Commander to dress up as Santa Claus Mr. Weinstein also talk to my battle buddies who were witness to this. We gave Mr. Weinstein the name of another officer to speak to about this. Mr. Weinstein say he will fix this and also offers to talk to my parents.
 
Mr Weinstein spoke to our (unit name withheld) (unit title withheld) Officer who directly works for our Commander. Next day comes and I am told I no longer have to put on the Santa Claus clothes. And that the party will also be now a “Holiday Party” again just like for last years! So everyone feel good again!
 
And just so you know I have many Christian battle buddies who support me. And I like my Chrisitian battle buddies. I just do not want to play Santa Claus at a Christmas Party.
 
We have many soldiers. Most are Christians. But not all are Christians. But we all deserve respect. My battle buddy who helped me write this is a Christian and he was upset by this too. Another battle buddy is Jewish. And he very mad about all this too. They all have my back. And I have theres. The MRFF has all our back.
 
Being ordered as a Muslim soldier to dress up as Santa Claus especially while we are deployed to (Muslim country name withheld) is so stupid. And degrade.
 
Thank you go to Mr. Weinstein and MRFF. You fix this just the very next day after I call you. Like you say you would.
 
My parents thank you too.
 
Assalamualaikum the MRFF (Peace be unto you the MRFF)
 
(U.S. soldier’s name, rank, MOS, unit and assigned military installation  all withheld)

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