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Army November 8, 2012
AS A practising Muslim, Lt
Glenn Mohammed has been
asked by both Muslim and
non-Muslim Australians why
he wanted to join the Australian Army.
His answer is simple -- joining the
military is something he has dreamt
about since childhood.
Born in Libya but soon moving to
Saudi Arabia, Lt Mohammed spent his
early years in and around military bases
in the Middle East as his father was
an architect designing and maintaining
buildings on the bases.
At age 17, he left Saudi Arabia with
his family's blessings
to further his education
in Melbourne, enroll-
ing in RMIT University
to complete his higher
before furthering his
studies in the field of
Later he spent a
few years in Singapore
before returning to
Australia in 2006 and
becoming a permanent
resident on June 6,
Two days after his
residency, he applied
to join the Army
Reserve and that dream
was realised when he
received his commission on July 8,
2009, as a Pay Corps officer.
Owning a small digital telecom-
munications business, he is currently
studying to be a lawyer, with barrister
training not far away.
Bringing his civilian experience to
his military work, he said he enjoyed
working in financial resource manage-
"I like making people more aware of
the resources they use, especially with
the limited nature of the resources." he
"I also get called on with my back-
ground to assist with deploying forces."
That assistance is using his flu-
ent language skills including Arabic
and Urdu -- which is a mix of Arabic
and Farsi -- to better prepare soldiers
deploying to the MEAO.
Lt Mohammed said deployed sol-
diers often needed the skills of an inter-
preter to complete their missions.
"By interpreting and translating lan-
guages as a role player it gives these
soldiers an idea of what they will face
on deployment," he said.
"If it makes a difference to the sol-
dier deploying, then I've done my part."
Another reason behind joining the
Army was achieving a personal goal of
trying to reduce the stigma associated
Lt Mohammed has found that in
both the civilian and military environ-
ments a lack of understanding continues
to divide Muslims and non-Muslims.
"The problem is on both sides," he
"If people integrated
more and got to know
each other instead of
keeping to themselves,
we wouldn't have this
Being quite active
in the Muslim commu-
nity, regularly attend-
ing mosques and other
gatherings, his Muslim
peers often ask why he
joined the Australian
"A lot of Muslims
think that soldiers go
drinking and party after
hours all the time," he
"What they need
to know is it's not like
that and even when there is alcohol
involved no one is forced to drink it."
Another common perception that
Lt Mohammed talked about was the
thought that Muslims who socialised
with non-Muslims would lose their reli-
gion or culture.
"You won't lose your cultural and
religious identities just by mixing with
non-Muslims," he said.
"But you will gain a better under-
standing of cultures other than your
Thinking back to his officer selec-
tion board and the question he was
asked, Lt Mohammed said he was taken
aback at first, but after taking a moment
and realising it wasn't a racial or reli-
gious attack, he responded.
"I told them that being Muslim is a
personal choice -- it's my religion," he
"It's not something that would stop
me from serving as an Australian soldier."
As an Australian soldier and a Muslim, Lt Glenn
Mohammed is the odd man out at both his reserve
unit and his mosque, Cpl Nick Wiseman reports.
The cultural connection
Two worlds: Pay Corps officer Lt Glenn Mohammed hopes his reserve service will help bridge the
cultural divide between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia.
Photo by Cpl Nick Wiseman
more and got
to know each
of keeping to
-- Lt Glenn Mohammed
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