Editorial: Muslims Only Given a Voice When They Serve Government's Purpose

September 26, 2003

Source: Beliefnet.com


On September 26, 2003 Beliefnet.com ran a commentary by Omid Safi on the arrest of Chaplain James Yee in which he raised the question, "Is it true that when Muslims serve the government’s purpose, we get a voice--but when we are suspected, our rights are taken?" About the Yee case, Safi said, "The case against Captain Yee is very unsettling for American Muslims, as it yet again taps into our massive collective insecurity about the public’s ability to trust Muslims living in America. The case is obviously still not settled, and it is important to make sure that Yee is presumed innocent if and until proven guilty, as indeed all citizens in America are entitled to be...The U.S. government presented Yee in the aftermath of September 11 as an example of a “good American Muslim” in the military; now he is being held by the same government. We live in an age when Muslim civilians are held without due process, and folks like Yee are held under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which also gives the military 30 long days to file charges against him. We now see both the civilian and the military codes being used against Muslims whose guilt has not yet been established."