Military’s Muslim chaplain vetting system poses significant risk to national security

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Spiritual care and leadership of Muslim service members needs open investigation.

PHOENIX (December 2, 2010) – The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) expresses deep concern with the military’s process for vetting Muslim clerics admitted to the Chaplain corps of the United State Military. Congress needs to give serious consideration to the concerns raised recently by former DoD Inspector General Joseph Schmitz to review the process and ensure that the chaplains charged with spiritually guiding Muslim service members are dedicated to the goals and interests of the United States and our Constitution. Until that time, the military should consider a moratorium on admitting any new Muslim clerics to the Chaplains Corps.

Presently the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the principle organization charged with certifying Imams for service in the Chaplains Corps. ISNA’s connection to the ideology of political Islam is significant and well documented. The ultimate goal of political Islam is to establish Islamic states for Muslim majorities based in shariah law and the goals of the “ummah” (Muslim community and nation). The theo-political ideology of political Islam is not compatible with our Constitution and defense of the United States. The massacre committed by Major Nidal Hasan demonstrates among other areas of concern that the U.S. military needs to take seriously the security risk of the separatist nature of political Islam. Further, it is our position that organizations which are apologists for political Islam should not serve as endorsers for our Muslim military chaplains. Our military imams and their endorsers need to have a proven track record against political Islam and the supremacist ideologies of its global project and its “ummah”. AIFD does not believe that ISNA meets this requirement. In fact, since most of the large Muslim organizations are Islamist, they also could not fill this need.

As a former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy and a devout Muslim, I am gravely concerned about the spiritual guidance offered to Muslim members of the United States armed services,” said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of AIFD. “As a naval officer in the mid-90s I personally walked out of a national ISNA convention where a leader of the organization, Imam Siraj Wahhaj was calling for the Quran to replace the Constitution as the legal authority over the United States. Having ISNA train our Chaplains is akin to in the cold war to having avowed Russian communists train US capitalist economists.”

Joseph Schmitz, while Inspector General for the Department of Defense had brought forward concerns about verifying the loyalty and training of military Imams. Most of his recommendations were not utilized because of the politically correct atmosphere that is pervasive in the United States military. Mr. Schmitz recently sent a letter to Senator Diane Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee imploring her to review the matter and consider significant changes to the process for vetting military Imams. AIFD agrees that Congress needs to take action and asks the military and Congressional members to realize that diversity is not laudable if it brings an ideological threat within the center of our services.

“I have had conversations with ranking service members who shared with me that interactions with an active-duty military imam has on occasion left them seriously concerned with the guidance they would give to Muslim soldiers serving in combat operations,” said Jasser. “I would rather now see a moratorium on Muslim clerics being admitted to the Chaplains Corps rather than admit an Imam who will not provide Muslim service members with complete clarity as to as to the righteousness of their duty to country over all other duties.”

About the American Islamic Forum for Democracy

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD’s mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/.

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