Writing at FrontPageMag, Paul Sperry reports the US military has agreed to review a course at the Air Force Special Operations School taught by Patrick Dunleavy, following a complaint from CAIR about Dunleavy’s outside associations. (Michael “Mikey” Weinstein had tried to hitch his wagon to CAIR’s complaint.)
Sperry’s piece cites no sources but does quote Dunleavy’s reaction, leading to the conclusion Dunleavy is the source of the information.
The portrayal of the Air Force’s action is a bit odd. For one thing, the article makes the (accurate) point that Dunleavy’s course was already reviewed, when the DoD did a (controversial) broad sweep of its programs for material that might be offensive to Muslims some time ago.
Further, the article says the Air Force went out of its way to assign a Muslim chaplain to Read more
On 31 March 2017, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein sent a message (PDF) to LtGen Marshall Webb, Commander of Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, complaining about Mr. Patrick Dunleavy, an instructor at the Air Force Special Ops School. Weinstein claimed Dunleavy was “a known promoter of anti-Muslim propaganda”:
Mr. Dunleavy is a senior fellow with Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), an anti-Muslim propaganda organization, and has also made intolerant bigoted statements against Islam and Muslims…Mr. Dunleavy also wrote a book in which he argues that the role of a prison chaplain is used by Muslims as a cover to “serve terrorism.”
Mr. Dunleavy has been closely associated with other anti-Muslim hate groups such as the Clarion Project and the Center for Security Policy. He has interviewed with Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project and makes regular appearances on Secure Freedom Radio, a radio show hosted by Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, another recognized anti-Muslim hate propaganda tool.
(The IPT responded in Dunleavy’s defense.)
In the long list of things Mikey doesn’t like, he fails to mention Read more
Update: New articles identify the student as Sana Hamze.
Update: Norwich University in Vermont has reportedly granted the same unnamed applicant the right to wear a hijab in her uniform. CAIR implies the student may yet take legal action against the Citadel. Alumni from Norwich reacted similarly to those at the Citadel, with at least one noting Norwich has a civilian program for those who do not wish to adhere to the rules of the military corps of cadets.
The Citadel, “The Military College of South Carolina,” has denied a request for a waiver from an incoming cadet to wear a hijab with her cadet uniform, among other exceptions. From the President of The Citadel, retired LtGen John Rosa:
The Citadel has relied upon a highly effective educational model requiring all cadets to adopt a common uniform. Uniformity is the cornerstone of this four-year leader development model. The standardization of cadets in apparel, overall appearance, actions and privileges is essential to the learning goals and objectives of the college. This process reflects an initial relinquishing of self during which cadets learn the value of teamwork to function as a single unit…
The Citadel recognizes the importance of a cadet’s spiritual and religious beliefs, providing services for specific needs whenever possible…
The prospective cadet, who had already Read more
As part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress required the DoD Inspector General to report to Congress on the US military’s promulgation of religious liberty protections. This was presumably due to perceptions the military was being unresponsive to the wording in laws passed by Congress.
As a result of that requirement, the DoD IG released an initial report (3MB PDF) last week more notable for what it did not say than what it did. Despite specific congressional attention on “individual expressions of belief,” the IG report almost completely ignored that topic — though it admitted why [emphasis added]:
Virtually all…events in a service member’s career involve subjective, discretionary decisionmaking on the part of leaders and commanders. Identifying examples of discrimination based on conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs was unrealistic because those reasons would almost never be cited as the basis for the decision…Further, denials of promotion, schooling, training, and assignment are a subset of adverse personnel actions.
To summarize: Read more
Update: To answer one of the issues below, Berts has now said
He had practiced Islam throughout his Navy career, Berts said in a Jan. 7 phone interview, but had become more observant by early 2011.
“I celebrated Islamic holidays, I fasted during holidays, I prayed,” he said. “I started to get a deeper sense of faith and started to try to live my religion a bit more.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed a lawsuit (PDF) against the US Navy on behalf of Jon Berts, a former Sailor who was denied a request for a beard for his religious faith. Ordinarily, this might fall under the auspices of the other religious accommodation issues that have arisen this year, but there are several aspects of Berts’ story that are slightly unusual:
Jonathan Berts of Fairfield applied to wear a beard in January 2011, but Defense Department policy did not allow religious exemptions from grooming requirements…
First, the policy citation isn’t entirely true. It is true that DoDI 1300.17 (more here) didn’t characterize grooming standards as “apparel,” but it was still possible to obtain a waiver for a beard — as other members of the military did.
Second, note the date: Berts was honorably discharged Read more
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the US Army on behalf of Sikh Hofstra University student Iknoor Singh, who was denied entry into ROTC because he would not comply with Army grooming standards that conflict with his religious beliefs.
From the filing (PDF):
When Mr. Singh asked for a religious exemption from these rules…, Defendants denied his request, despite approving similar religious and medical accommodations for other uniformed Army personnel in recent years.
Mr. Singh is now left with an untenable choice: Enlist as an ROTC Cadet and abandon the sacred religious practices that he has followed his entire life, or forfeit his dreams of joining ROTC–along with Read more
Update: J.B. Wells wonders aloud if the DoD intentionally produced the policy to change the religious freedom focus to turbans and beards while keeping “liberal constituencies” like Michael Weinstein “at bay.”
There have been a wide variety of responses to the US military’s update to DODI 1300.17 (accommodating religious freedom), with language that seems to imply a more open attitude toward outward display and expression of religious belief.
The Christian Post, like many sites, focused on the apparent ability to wear religious accoutrements:
The Pentagon reportedly decided to change its policy on religious wear after Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a Sikh, spoke at a Congressional briefing about the challenges American Sikhs face in the military earlier in January. Kalsi told members of Congress that he believes he can effectively serve his country while still maintaining his religious appearance, including an uncut beard and a turban.
While that may or may not have been a factor, the DoDI clearly includes language from both the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts — that is, requirements levied by Congress, not just reconsideration based on serving Soldiers.
The US Navy appeared to try to quell Read more
The Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) recently called the group “ACT! For America” the equivalent of the KKK and demanded a speaker not be allowed to use county property.
Hassan Shibly, an attorney and executive director of CAIR of Tampa, said he supports freedom of speech.
But this individual makes statements to incite violence against the Muslim community, so I think that the line has been crossed,” Shibly said. “ACT! is an extremist group no different than the KKK. And if the KKK wanted to use that room, there would be a protest…”
CAIR relies upon the “KKK” line frequently. The speaker in question, UCF Professor Jonathan Matusitz, sounded a calm tone: Read more