Re: US army arrests "its own" Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo
- Dear Eric,
Thank you for this, the war news, the "riverbend" reports, and, of course,
that al-Quds al-Arabi story about the tiger that bit off an American soldier's
hand (I'm still laughing about that!) This particluar report is indeed
an interesting development. We have a Chinese-American who converted to
Islam, studied in Syria, rejoined the American military, was chaplain to
both troops and prisoners and Guantanamo, and now, apparently, is suspected
of some kind of misconduct. Perhaps it's religious profiling. Then again,
perhaps he has been a double-spy :-)
>This was just sent to Arab Nationalist but, you know,
>just in case . . . .
>The US Army can't trust "its own" Muslim personnel.
>Army Islamic Chaplain Detained in Probe
>By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer
>SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Muslim chaplain at the U.S.
>military base in Guantanamo who counseled suspected
>terrorists and taught fellow troops about Islam is the
>first known U.S. soldier to be detained in the
>U.S.-led war on terror.
>Army Capt. Yousef Yee, a 34-year-old with a thinning
>buzz-cut who converted to Islam after being raised as
>a Christian, arrived at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station
>in Cuba last November. His job was to teach fellow
>troops about Islam and counsel detainees suspected of
>links to Afghanistan (news - web sites)'s ousted
>Taliban regime or the al-Qaida terror network.
>Military officials said Saturday that Yee � who was
>born James Yee but later took the Muslim name of
>Yousef � was detained on Sept. 10 in Jacksonville
>after returning from Guantanamo. He has not been
>A senior law enforcement official, speaking on
>condition of anonymity, said FBI (news - web sites)
>agents confiscated classified documents Yee was
>carrying and questioned him before he was handed over
>to the military.
>Bill Hurlburt, a spokesman with the FBI in
>Jacksonville, Fla. confirmed that agents were at the
>scene, but he declined further comment.
>In an interview conducted with The Associated Press in
>January, Yee refused to answer questions about the
>depth of his involvement with the detainees, who then
>numbered 650, and now stand at about 660 � mostly men
>but at least three teenagers from 43 countries.
>When asked if he was sympathetic to the prisoners �
>some of whom have been held in Guantanamo for nearly
>two years without charges � Yee was silent and showed
>no emotion. When asked how his faith affected how he
>viewed the detention mission, he gave only a cursory
>"I'm here to provide spiritual services to the
>detainees and to the troops," Yee said, speaking of
>his teachings on Islam to U.S. troops at the base. He
>also offered Friday prayer services at the base.
>Yee is being held at a military brig in Charleston,
>S.C. � the same place where officials are holding
>Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American-born Saudi who allegedly
>fought with the Taliban, and Jose Padilla, a former
>Chicago gang member charged with plotting to detonate
>"He had daily access to the detainees," said Capt. Tom
>Crosson, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command in
>Miami, who confirmed the military was holding Yee in
>South Carolina. "He is the first U.S. soldier that I
>know of to be detained and held since the war on
>This year, Army Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, a 32-year-old
>Muslim, was charged in a March grenade attack in
>Kuwait that killed Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone, 40,
>and Army Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert, 27, and
>injured 14 others.
>Akbar, however, was not accused of terrorism. He was
>charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder.
>As an Arabic-speaker, Yee counseled the detainees,
>advised them on religious matters and made sure all of
>their dietary needs were met at the base in eastern
>In the sprawling Camp Delta � the high-security prison
>where the men are held � Yee was seldom out of earshot
>from armed guards or interpreters contracted to help
>with interrogations. But sometimes, he had one-on-one
>access to the detainees, officials said.
>Yee, of Chinese descent and reportedly from New
>Jersey, converted to Islam from Christianity in 1991
>after his military studies at West Point. He left the
>Army for Syria, where he received religious training.
>He returned to the U.S. military soon after.
>When asked during the January interview why he
>converted to Islam, Yee instead spoke of Islam's
>"One of the strengths of our culture is diversity,"
>"A lot of people don't know Jesus is part of Islam but
>Muslims believe he was a prophet," Yee said. "Surely
>people can be more open-minded."
>Yee arrived at the camp at a critical time, when
>officials were trying to jolt the interrogation
>process into high-gear. He was also there during a
>time when U.S. officials came under increasing
>pressure to either charge the about 660 men � many of
>whom have been held for nearly two years � or release
>Yee was always vague about whether he was involved in
>Since the detention mission began, Guantanamo has had
>at least three Muslim chaplains, the first being Navy
>Lt. Abuhena Saif-ul-Islam, who in 1999 became the
>Marines' first Muslim chaplain.
>Yee is married. Prior to Guantanamo he was stationed
>in Fort Lewis, Wash.