May 2: Islamophobia: Fighting Ignorance and Promoting Peace
Captain James Yee, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and former US Army Chaplain, explores present day Islamophobia as it relates to the social, legal and national security conscious climate of our time. Yee draws on his unique experience as the former Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, an American-born Muslim convert, and an elected National Delegate for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election season, to provide a captivating view of Islam in America and the challenges faced by everyday Muslims in our nation. Clarifying the many misconceptions about Islam and Muslims, he provokes reflection on our American values, especially those of diversity, religious freedom, tolerance and justice and provides insight on how to foster better mutual understanding.
About Captain Yee: While ministering to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Captain Yee advised the commanders of the camp on detainee religious practices and objected to the cruel and degrading abuses to which the prisoners were subjected. After being officially recognized twice for outstanding performance, Captain Yee was arrested and imprisoned in a Naval brig in solitary confinement for 76 days in September 2003, falsely accused of spying, espionage, and aiding the alleged Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners. All criminal charges were dropped, after months of government investigation. With his record wiped clean, Chaplain Yee was reinstated to full duty at Fort Lewis, Washington. He tendered his resignation from the US Army and received an Honorable Discharge on January 7, 2005. Upon separation he was awarded a second Army Commendation medal for "exceptionally meritorious service."
This event is part of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life’s month-long exploration and discussion of Religious Freedom in America.
Arrangements for the appearance of James Yee made by Samara Lectures.
Sponsored by WEB, The Department of Religion, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, The Muslim Student Association and the Intercultural Center.