Boston Marathon Comment: I Am Ashamed of West Point (Islamophobia vs. cadet)

Mr. Weinstein, I spoke to you on the phone earlier today several times. I ask that you not reveal any of my personal cadet identification. What I say about my family here is fine though. I am just not prepared to try to handle the messed up fallout I know I and others would get if my name got out as complaining to you and the MRFF of all people. I am a cadet at West Point. Sir, I am of the Muslim faith but not too many of my classmates or others here at the Academy know of this fact. I try to keep it quiet and always have. I am in the Class of 20(XX) and in Company (X-X). Today I was in class when our instructor, an active duty Army officer, started to talk about what happened with the explosions at the Boston Marathon. After a few comments, he then said that he’d “bet his life on the Muslims having been behind it like they always are.” He then said “it’s always the Muslims and everyone knows it and everybody’s afraid to say it. Well I am not!” He yelled the last part. Mr. Weinstein, not one other cadet said anything at all. I wanted to but could not bring myself to. I was so angry and ashamed. At that instructor, at West Point, at the other cadets in class and myself. If you are a serious Christian here you will not face this kind of humiliation. I called my mom and dad as soon afterwards as I could. I was shaking I was so mad. They advised me to call you and I did. The thing that makes me most angry is that I am a Muslim and my family is Muslim but we are also patriotic Americans. My father is a (XX)-year policeman in (large American city’s name withheld). My mother is a physician. One of my siblings is a decorated Army Green Beret. I am third generation American. Not all Muslims are terrorists any more than all Jews or Christians are. The words of my instructor are shameful and hurtful. Sir, thank you, but there is nothing I want you to do to intervene here. I know you said you would if I wanted. I can tell you are anxious to right this wrong. I was just so surprised that you actually answered your own phone (my dad told me he heard you do that.) And you spent so much time with me, sir. I appreciate that you said you and the MRFF would be willing to take this on and fight for me. And I know that noone else would stand up for us. I had known of you but my parents knew alot more. I do not trust going to my TAC or others in my USMA cadet or officer chain. I appreciate being able to talk to you, sir. I also want to thank you for giving me your cell and home phone numbers. I will let you know if any more messed up stuff like this happens. I promise. Thank you for taking my calls and thank you for being ready to jump in. I am proud to be American but I am not proud of what went down here today. I am afraid it is only the beginning like what happened at Fort Hood.

V/R

(West Point cadet’s identifying information all withheld by request)

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    10 Comments

    1. Ita

      Please let this Cadet know that we are not proud of how Americans respond to Muslims, or to anyone who experiences discrimination in the US. I am of Hispanic descent; my entire family has experienced discrimination and yet we have served the US Military for more than 60 years. Be strong and know you aren’t alone. My first thought after hearing about the Boston Marathon is that it probably is a 30 year old, white supremist, trying to make a statement for gun control. Even if it is a terrorist, I know personally that there are very many beautiful Muslim people. Stay strong; you are forging a new path. One day the ignorant people in the US will not rush to judgment so quickly. My prayers are with you.

    2. USAFCapt

      To the Cadet who spoke up. Good job, it’s not easy being the target of such speech and having the fortitude to do something about it. Just as you experienced the sentiment where you are, I had several co-workers mention the same thing, and I did my best to pass on the message that we shouldn’t be so quick to assign blame or anger in a time when we should be all be coming together to support one another. Especially as a Military Family. We do this because, unlike most jobs, we all come from all geographic locations, from all cultures, from different financial, social, economic, you name it backgrounds. We don’t have time to hate, we don’t have time to discriminate, we have work to do, and anyone standing in the way of that work, or mutilating it to fit their disgusting views of their fellow man has no place in my military. Continue to do good work at West Point, and don’t let the vocal few convince you that you are not welcome or appreciated as a brother in arms.

    3. Former USAF officer who happens to be Jewish

      To the patriotic and brave West Point cadet and his or her family,

      I commend you for your service to our nation, including and especially for contacting Mikey to alert him to the situation where you are. Trust me: He won’t do anything you ask him not to, nor will your anonymity be risked, much less exposed. The facts, presented by you and others, over years of running the Foundation, add up. Mikey can at least keep some statistical track, and should enough other such experiences ever bring you to the brink, whatever brink that may be, Mikey will be there for you, and even more-so since he will have followed your situation from here on out and so be quickly familiar.

      Trust me on this, too: Every single one of us associated with MRFF, especially volunteers like me, understand the courage it took you to reach out, and the wisdom of staying anonymous. In my case, MRFF didn’t exist, yet. I approached the proper elements in the chain of command. Turns out, since I entered active duty as a field grade officer, once my duty station was assigned, the commander, there, began setting me up to kick me out before I was even sworn in. There was nothing I could do. (I’m not done with them, yet, though…) Mikey initiated MRFF months after I was ousted. I am one of his earliest clients. It’s been a few years, and the story continues, Mikey knows!, so this has cost my career (as the commander planned), my health, but not (as my commander also hoped for) my life. Indeed, once I saw in writing that he intended for me to suicide, I was all the stronger. He will not win, nor will his cronies and connections, though they have most certainly tried.

      You have family. It is the one thing I did not and do not have. I feel most certain that you can get through this, and now, as an MRFF client, you can consider yourself truly fighting for the Constitution, not just going through paces, by reporting any more breaches you recognize. Your ability to recognize them will sharpen with the exercise, too.

      I am, like you, proud to be an American. I am also proud that you and your family are American. Thank you for your service.

      V/R,
      Former USAF officer who happens to be Jewish

    4. Hal Weiner

      Hang in there, Cadet. I am an Episcopalian of Jewish heritage and a former junior officer in the Navy before you were born. I had a Muslim sailor in my Signal gang on the signal bridge of an aircraft carrier. He was a good kid from New Jersey and was treated like everyone else…… they obviously disliked him because he was from the Northeast. Not because he was a Muslim. ( they didn’t like the fact that I, their jr. officer and Division Officer was from New Yawk …… some of them called it Jew York even to my face ) but we all got along. Things will get better as you get more Muslim Chaplains ….. and this officer is not typical of the Army, which has far less racism and Islambashing than other services who shall remain nameless…

    5. Wtf? It was Muslims. The media is a afraid to talk about it. Islamists have launched more than 20,000 attacks since 9/11 around the globe – not counting the wars we are fighting. Just read the paper. I wonder, how is this soldier threatened by that information? Wake up, Islamism is very real and it will be a problem we face for a very long time. Pretending Muslims aren’t the people undertaking this and that in fact there is significant support for various aspects of the Islamist agenda in the Muslim American community is just putting your head in the sand. Sorry, I’m just not buying this as some intolerable insult. The teacher is probably warrior and feels righteous anger over the attack. Even if he was a little over the top, I cannot believe we have reached the place where speaking the truth is considered discrimination.

    6. Michael Draghi

      The bombers were or were not Muslim? According to the note above, the instructor did not say ‘all Muslims are terrorists’. He simply said that the Boston bombers were radical, fundamentalist Muslims. Guess what? He was right…

    7. Daniel

      WP Cadet–as otehrs have stated, the bombers were Chechan Muslims. Therefore, the professor should not be punished given that he was correct. As far as your Muslim faith, consider yourself lucky that you’re able to serve in the US Army. Think about the chances others have in Muslim countries. What would be the odds of a christian (or any other religion other than Islam) serving as an officer in the Saudi military? Zero. So while you preach your sob story of religious intolerance in the US look at your own muslim countries and tell me how tolerant they are. By the way, Saudi Arabia is the rule and not the exception. I merely cite them as one example. Here’s a brief synopsis of their policy towards non-muslims [I hate to use wikipedia but it's pretty common, undisputed knowledge]: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion; the law requires that all Saudi citizens be Muslims. Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. The public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited.[1] The Saudi Mutaween (Arabic: مطوعين), or Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (i.e., the religious police), enforces the prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions. The Government claims to recognize the right of non-Muslims to worship in private; it does not always respect this right in practice.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_religious_freedom_in_Saudi_Arabia.)
      Finally, I understand that just because other countries are intolerant of other religions doesn’t mean the US reserves that right, and you are perfectly within your rights to fight for equality. However, as you continue your fight, consider the irony that Muslims worldwide are oppressing other religions. Essentially, your fighting for the right to practice an oppressive religion. And please don’t give me anecdotes about the oppression inflicted by christians. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If you want religious freedom, demand the same from your muslim counterparts. Perhaps you can write to the Saudi government and tell them to consider religious equality as public policy. Let me know how that goes.

    8. Daniel

      Ita–just noticed your comment. How disgusting. Your first thought was that it’s probably a 30 yo white supremicist?! And you go on to decry bigotry and racism? Nevermind the fact that it did indeed turn out to be muslim Chechan terrorists, I take no solace in that whatsoever. If you truly were against bigotry and racism in all forms, you never would have assumed it was anyone at all until the facts came out. Sadly, you are not alone. It seems to be the trend that racism is not tolerated unless it’s directed towards white males. Don’t worry, I’m not playing the victim, here. I let my deeds and words stand for themselves and judge/treat people the way they treat me. However, you lost all credibility once you assumed the bomber was one particular race. You’re exactly the same as the West Point professor who assumed the bomber was muslim. The only difference is the professor was right. I have to assume you’ll be apologizing for your careless post.

    9. Kelli

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      If you read the post from 0336 this morning, you have a fine example of exactly what priviledge looks like. WP Cadet, thank you for having the courage to speak out about this. During your service, you will ultimately be in leadership positions with soldiers depending on you. They will depend on you for guidance, discipline, protection and integrity. If you have the courage to stand up for something like religious freedom (which is not popular and even dangerous at times), then you are more likely to stand up and do the right thing for the soldiers under your charge. I am former enlisted (USNR and USA) and had a ‘rouge’ Cmdr. She was a generally all round sad, vindictive person who we’ll just leave it at she regularly abused her power. She enjoyed inflicting emotional distress on our unit and had a habit of making up bogus article 15′s and chapters (nearly all of them were thrown out). I personally received five from her within a 7 month period (all bogus and all thrown out). My point is that NCO’s (from Sgt to SGM) were telling me things she was planning and warning me to please watch my back. My PL pulled me in with another Lt to tell me things she said and to watch my back. However, when I asked these NCOs and officers to please write a sworn statement for myself and others, they said that they wanted to but because of the level of vindictiveness they witnessed her do to nearly an entire platoon, they were in fear for their careers. Talk about a morale buster. I was able to document quite a bit and she was relieved. An E-4 taking on an O-3 is no easy task and you had better have your ducks in a row, thankfully, I did. My reason for sharing this is because as a leader difficult situations happen and while it may not be directing you personally, you have a duty to step in and not allow mistreatment of your soldiers. The fact that you are a cadet and already exhibit this level of courage and integrity gives me comfort you will do the same for your subordinates when the time comes.

    10. elf

      I am to old to believe in fairy tales…You cannot be a muslim and a good American citzen because islam is incompatible with democracy. It is a very big mistake to untrust muslim people with responsability in the military when their religion teaches to convert or kill all non-muslims, and to lie for the extension of islam. Don’t believe me, read the coran. Don’t tell me that they are moderate muslim and islamist as they have the same coran and all the evil is already in the teaching of that book. And don’t fall for a so-called interpretation because the coran is believed to be the direct speech of god without possible human interpretation. And last, they are two periods in the coran, medina and then mecca, the last one is to be considered as it is the last one, and also the more violent and criminal. If you are still muslim, you cannot be trusted. Only ex-muslims could be trusted as they risk their life leaving this murderous ideology.

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