Post 9/11 Islam in America: A Personal Experience
Speaker: James J. Yee
Captain “James” Yusuf Yee has the distinction of being one of the first Muslim chaplains in the US army. He graduated from the WestPoint Military Academy. Initially, he trained as an air force artillery officer. He learned about Islam in Syria. At Guantanamo Bay, he was entrusted with taking care of the spiritual needs of the detainees. He found that many people in detention have been sold for bounties in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. While returning home for a vacation in September 2003, he was arrested and charged with spying and carrying classified information. He believes that Islamophobia may have been a factor in his detention. He was held in a navy prison for a total of seventy-six days, where he was also mistreated. Former US President George Bush declared that the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners did not apply in Guantanamo Bay. Yee spent the entire month of Ramadhan in detention. His wife and daughter went through a trying period during this time. Finally, he was cleared and received an honourable discharge. He recounted his experience in the award winning For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire. The Washington Post described it as “required reading for all US officials waging war on Islamist terrorists.” He noted that the current US President, Barrack Obama, reneged on his promise to close down GB. Yee now gives talk at universities. So far, he observed, no one has been held accountable for human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.