After thanking the community for its support Former US military chaplain and officer, James Yee,. spoke of these “historic times of eroding civil liberties” during the promotion his new book “For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire” at the Seattle Public Library recently.
Two years ago the Fort Lewis-based Muslim chaplain was imprisoned for 76 days in solitary confinement and interrogated after the military accused him of with mishandling classified material, failing to obey an order, making a false official statement, adultery and conduct unbecoming an officer while he served as a Muslim Chaplain for detainees at the USGuantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Last year all the criminal charges were dropped.
Yee is one of about a dozen Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military, according to officials.
There are between 4,000 and 10,000 practicing Muslims serving in the U.S. armed forces.
Ray and Stella Leong, both 54, from Issaquah
Ray (left in photo) We came to hear about the struggle that he went through and the part of the story that we’re not hearing. We came to support him as an Asian American. There’s just too many of these cases. You just wonder what the government is doing to its own people. It can happen to anyone.
Now we’re in this war. What are we doing about it? Why are we there? We have 600 and something prisoners in there supposedly and they’re not charged. What about civil rights? You know, what’s happening to all that
I think we have to approach this a little more cautiously. Its been 4 years and we’re still fighting a different war versus trying to pin down Bin Laden. He’s the guy we were trying to go after. Now we’re going after another guy. You know this government is just out of… we need to stay focused. And right now there’s just no focus. And all the lies that we’ve been hearing from the government… something needs to be done with the government.
Stella (center right in photo) He mentioned in his talk about the American image overseas is terrible. And we’re not safe at home. We’re not safe outside the United States and you don’t feel good when you’re claiming yourself as an American and people put you down so bad. And its not safe. People would not like to be associated with American… US dollars is you know, the exchange rate is coming down. We’re not as strong a country as we used to be. We need to be a role model rather than going around and beat up everybody. And send all the sons and daughters over there and die for no reason.
There’s just too many of these cases. You just wonder what the government is doing to its own people. Open up a newspaper. Across the region. Across the country, there are people being targeted for charges that are anonymous. It just kind of make you wonder what happened to our great American justice system?