Dawud Agbere is one of five imams based at the Pentagon. Born and raised in the West African nation of Ghana, Mr. Agbere is not your typical U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. As a young man, he received the U.S. Diversity Visa lottery which enabled him to come to the United States. “When you are growing up in Ghana — in Africa, not just in Ghana — America is the land of prosperity,” says the Imam.
After a stint teaching high school, he joined the Army where he was stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. As an Arab speaker, he often worked to “bridge the gap,” as he put it, between cultures.
After serving twenty years in the military, Mr. Agbere now enjoys his work as one of the Pentagon’s imams, and leads the afternoon prayers. Contractor Abdul Zaid says that Mr. Agbere is someone who cares – whether it’s consoling his fellow Pentagon employees during times of grief or bringing dessert in times of celebration. “It’s about the community he has built here,” offers another contractor, Habiba Heider.
Speaking about the recent onslaught of anti-Muslim rhetoric and sentiment during this election cycle, Mr. Agbere comments: “Some of these things are based on ignorance, and I always see this as an opportunity to teach people. I want to be able to define my story. I don’t want my story to define me.”