RealNews

Army Chaplain in Detention Sought to Teach About Islam

Within days of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Capt. James J. Yee, a Muslim chaplain stationed at the Fort Lewis Army base south of here, dedicated himself to a new mission. He would tell anyone who would listen, according to people who heard his sermons, that Islam was not a violent religion, and he would deliver that message at the base, in churches and mosques, on college campuses and on the streets of Olympia, where he lived with his wife and young daughter. Captain Yee, 35, would apply that same determination — an intensity of purpose that had made him a star wrestler in high school, a graduate of West Point and a deeply dedicated convert to Islam — when he was sent last year to minister to Muslim detainees at the American prison camp for militants and suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. There, it was Captain Yee who arranged for the muezzin’s call to prayer to ring through the camp over a loudspeaker five times a day, and when the compact disc player broke, he chanted the prayers himself into a microphone. Part of his job, he said in an interview there last April, was to deal with the misunderstandings between the prisoners and the authorities. “I advise the base commander with respect to religion and help facilitate worship here,” Captain Yee said. “But most importantly, I am utilized to defuse tensions within the camp.” Full Story

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