An Indian-origin woman soldier in the US has complained that she is facing constant anti-Muslim slurs and jokes because her name sounded Islamic.
Sgt 1st Class Naida Hosan is not a Muslim,shes a Catholic. But her name sounds Islamic to fellow US soldiers in Iraq,and they would taunt her,calling her Sgt Hussein and asking what God she prayed to.
Hence,before deploying to Afghanistan last year for her second war tour,she legally changed her name to Naida Christian Nova.
This however did not solve her problems.
Instead,matters escalated. Nova complained to her superiors about constant anti-Muslim slurs and jokes. She says they responded with a series of reprisals intended to drive her out of the Army,leading her to consider suicide.
My complaints fell on deaf ears every time, said Nova,41,a member of the Armys 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg,North Carolina.
Any time I would say something about it,I was treated like I didnt know what I was talking about or that Im an idiot or that I was a Muslim sympathizer. It was just a very lonely feeling.
Determined to remain in the service for at least eight years,until she is eligible for retirement,Nova recently re-enlisted.
But she agreed to tell her story to The Associated Press because I dont want this to happen to anyone else if I can help it. Its a horrible to feel like people are against you when you are supposed to be on the same team.
Fort Bragg spokeswoman Sheri L Crowe said the Army would not comment on the case,and referred questions to the US Department of Justice.
The US Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina,assigned to defend the Army,also declined comment.