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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR Asks Pentagon Not to Use Target of Muslim Woman, Quran in SEAL Training
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/29/12) -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Pentagon officials not to use a target depicting a Muslim woman wearing a religious head scarf (hijab) and verses from the Quran in combat scenarios for training Navy SEALs at the new close quarters combat range at Joint Base Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that military facility, referred to as a "kill house," features a number of combat scenarios, including a mosque and a movable target of a Muslim woman wearing hijab and aiming a handgun. Verses from the Quran, Islam's revealed text, are also displayed behind the target.
"Using a Muslim woman wearing a religious head scarf with [verses from the] Quran behind her as a target for our nation's military personnel is offensive and sends a negative and counterproductive message to trainees and to the Muslim-majority nations to which they may be deployed," wrote CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. "This is yet another example of why the Department of Defense needs to fix what appears to be an ongoing problem by consulting credible scholars and experts to review all training and training materials related to Islam or Muslims."
Awad noted that CAIR recently called on the Department of Defense to dismiss an instructor at the nearby Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., who taught fellow officers that only a "total war" on Islam would protect America, that they should use "Hiroshima" tactics, target civilian populations, and abandon the Geneva Conventions.
The instructor of that course was later relieved of his teaching duties.
CAIR last year welcomed a White House-ordered comprehensive review of government counterterrorism training materials to weed out Islamophobic content.
CAIR chapters nationwide have filed 87 separate public records requests about possible Islamophobic training of local, state and national law enforcement personnel.
The Muslim civil liberties organization has also called on the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and Congress to provide oversight for apparently widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement, security and military personnel nationwide.
SEE: CAIR Asks Sec. Napolitano to Probe Use of Islamophobic Trainers
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CAIR noted the release of an 80-page report by Political Research Associates (PRA), titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security," which details a systemic failure to regulate content in counterterrorism training.
Washington Monthly magazine also published a major investigative article showing similar anti-Islam attitudes by private trainers of law enforcement agencies.
A number of recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia nationwide.
CAIR: Same Hate, New Target
Center for American Progress: Fear, Inc.
Southern Poverty Law Center: Jihad Against Islam
People for the American Way: The Right-Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com