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Washington, U.S.A — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have welcomed a decision by the U.S. military to stop using a target depicting a Muslim woman wearing a religious head scarf (hijab) and verses from the Quran to train Navy SEALs at the new close quarters combat range at Joint Base Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.
The Navy made that announcement after the Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Friday asking that the target and the religious text be removed from the training facility, referred to as a “kill house.”
Lt. David Lloyd, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Group 2, told the Virginian-Pilot: “We have removed this particular target and Arabic writing in question from the range in the near term, and will explore other options for future training.”
“We welcome the Navy’s prompt action to address community concerns and hope this incident serves as a reminder that credible scholars and experts need to be consulted when designing training materials relating to Islam and Muslims for our nation’s military personnel,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “This is a welcome first step, but a serious and comprehensive review is needed to deal with the issue of Islamophobia in military training.”
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.