Despite their decades of dedicated military service, Muslim military chaplains often find themselves viewed as outsiders due to their religious beliefs. A new documentary, premiering on PBS’ “Independent Lens” Nov. 6, sheds light on the remarkable journey and challenges faced by three Muslim chaplains who are finding their place in the United States military. The film was created by Director David Washburn, who has partnered with Muslim storytellers for more than a decade, and Producer Razi Jafri, who also created the film “Hamtramck, USA. 

Their new film, “Three Chaplains,” follows three Muslim Chaplains — Rafael, Khallid and Saleha — and delves deep into the armed forces, offering a glimpse into how these chaplains practice, teach, and share their faith with troops across the nation. Along their journey, they confront various obstacles, from accusations of disloyalty to resistance within their own families and communities, all while striving to attain the highest ranks within the military.  

“Three Chaplains,” is a compelling exploration of the challenges faced by these Muslim military chaplains as they navigate issues like Islamophobia, crises of faith, and their quest to bring about change from within one of the nation’s most revered institutions. The film not only spotlights the struggles of these dedicated individuals but also provides a platform to celebrate their achievements. 

One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota sat down with Washburn and Jafri to talk about the making of the film and the challenges Muslim military chaplains face today. They discuss religion in the armed forces, combatting challenges like islamophobia and making history with the announcement of the first female Muslim chaplain.

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