WASHINGTON, June 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcome a decision by the U.S. military to stop using a target depicting a Muslim woman wearing a religious head scarf (hijab) and verses from the Quran to train Navy SEALs at the new close quarters combat range at Joint Base Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.
The Navy made that announcement after the Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Friday asking that the target and the religious text be removed from the training facility, referred to as a "kill house."
Lt. David Lloyd, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Group 2, told the Virginian-Pilot: "We have removed this particular target and Arabic writing in question from the range in the near term, and will explore other options for future training."
SEE: SEAL Training Range Won't Show Woman as Target (Virginian-Pilot)
"We welcome the Navy's prompt action to address community concerns and hope this incident serves as a reminder that credible scholars and experts need to be consulted when designing training materials relating to Islam and Muslims for our nation's military personnel," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "This is a welcome first step, but a serious and comprehensive review is needed to deal with the issue of Islamophobia in military training."
Awad noted that CAIR recently called on the Department of Defense to dismiss an instructor at the nearby Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., who taught fellow officers that only a "total war" on Islam would protect America, that they should use "Hiroshima" tactics, target civilian populations, and abandon the Geneva Conventions.
Military to Officers: Use 'Hiroshima' Tactics for 'Total War' on Islam
The instructor of that course was later relieved of his teaching duties.
SEE: U.S. Military Instructor Suspended Over Islam Course
CAIR last year welcomed a White House-ordered comprehensive review of government counterterrorism training materials to weed out Islamophobic content.
SEE: Obama Orders Clean Up of Islamophobic Terror Training
CAIR chapters nationwide have filed 87 separate public records requests about possible Islamophobic training of local, state and national law enforcement personnel.
SEE: CAIR Files Multi-State Records Requests on Anti-Muslim Law Enforcement Trainings
The Muslim civil liberties organization has also called on the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and Congress to provide oversight for apparently widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement, security and military personnel nationwide.
SEE: CAIR Asks Sec. Napolitano to Probe Use of Islamophobic Trainers
Video: CAIR Decries Anti-Muslim Police Trainers
CAIR noted the release of an 80-page report by Political Research Associates (PRA), titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security," which details a systemic failure to regulate content in counterterrorism training.
Manufacturing the Muslim Menace
Washington Monthly magazine also published a major investigative article showing similar anti-Islam attitudes by private trainers of law enforcement agencies.
SEE: How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam
A number of recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia nationwide.
CAIR: Same Hate, New Target
Center for American Progress: Fear, Inc.
Southern Poverty Law Center: Jihad Against Islam
People for the American Way: The Right-Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)