Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Military needs more Muslims, Hillier says
Last Updated Mon, 10 Apr 2006 13:34:50 EDT
Canada's top soldier is calling on Muslims to join the military, saying the makeup of the Canadian Forces doesn't reflect the country's ethnic diversity.
INDEPTH: Canada's military
Gen. Rick Hillier says Canada's military does not 'reflect the demographics of our country to nearly the degree that we want.' (CBC)
Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier delivered the invitation Sunday night at a dinner hosted by Ottawa's Muslim Association.
Hillier had the highest praise for the military, but he said the force of 62,500 regular members and 20,000 reservists has a serious shortcoming.
"Those men and women do not, however, reflect the demographics of our country to nearly the degree that we want," said Hillier.
"And in short, let me just tell you quite frankly, they don't reflect your community in the numbers that we need, or that we want, or that are healthy for our country."
Hillier said Canadian soldiers are in Afghanistan to root out terrorists, to help stabilize the region and, mainly, to help ordinary Afghans.
"We simply help those who need help, and when they don't need that help any longer, we want to be coming out of those countries and coming home as quickly as possible," he said.
Some of the young Muslims whom Hillier wants to reach were skeptical.
Khaled Kaddoura says he needs a clearer idea of why Canada is in Afghanistan before he would consider a career in the military.
"First of all, I'm a Muslim, so I don't like to fight," said Kaddoura. "So unless there's a clear purpose for me to go there, to change it, then I wouldn't do it, you know what I mean?"
Posted by Editor at 12:03 AM