US chaplain condemns ‘war on Islam’

A Muslim chaplain working for the US Army in Guantánamo Bay condemned his country’s “war on Islam” yesterday. James Yee told BBC radio that Islam is currently seen by US forces as the “religion of terror.”

When soldiers saw the chaplain practising the same faith as the prisoners that he ministered, he was treated with great suspicion and eventually arrested for “espionage,” he revealed. Mr Yee was accused of adultery and storing pornography on a government computer and was locked up in solitary confinement for 76 days, before all charges against him were suddenly dropped.

He spoke yesterday of the “atmosphere of hostility” toward all Muslims at the torture camp. “We say that the war on terror is not a war against Islam. But that is not how it felt most days at Guantanamo,” Mr Yee said.

“Every man behind the steel mesh wire of the cages practises the same religion, a religion that many people who work inside the prison understand only as the religion of terror. I was praying like the Muslims prisoners prayed. That must have meant to many people there that was somehow connected to extremism or terrorism,” he said.

All of the British citizens locked up at the US outpost in Cuba have been brought home, but one British resident remains there, in limbo and on hunger strike, because the Foreign Office refuses to help him. Libyan refugee Omar Deghayes lived in Britain for 20 years but never registered as a British citizen, so the government says that it has no duty to intervene on his behalf.

Independent peace campaigner Rachel Critchley will stage a 12-hour peace walk through London tomorrow, dressed in a bright orange Guantánamo-style boiler suit and shackles, to raise awareness of Mr Deghayes’s plight.

Morning Star, 13 October 2005

See also Islam Online, 13 October 2005