Whenever Pipes repeats his catchphrase—"Militant Islam is the problem; moderate Islam is the solution"—I say, "Thanks for that glimpse of the obvious, Dan!" But apparently it's not obvious enough. Senator Chuck Schumer's grandstanding over the arrest of Capt. James J. Yee has had the salutary effect of publicizing how the armed services train and select Muslim chaplains.
Yee's chaplaincy was sponsored by the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veteran Affairs Council, a subgroup of the American Muslim Foundation (AMF). U.S. Customs agents, Schumer notes, have investigated the AMF for possible financial ties to terrorism. The AMAF Veterans Affairs Council is one of three Muslim organizations that trains or sponsors military chaplains. Assorted fuckups in this Washington Times story don't inspire a lot of confidence, but it does raise two interesting points: that another of these organizations, the Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences, was raided last year in the same investigation as AMF; and that the Pentagon seems to be indifferent to considering organizations whose pasts are a little less, well, checkered as candidates for the chaplain-sponsoring business:
For months, the Universal Muslim Association of America, which is aligned with Shi'ite Islam, has tried to become an endorser of Muslim clerics in the military and federal prisons. But the group says it has been ignored, despite its warnings that the Wahhabi form of Islam is being propagated to troops and prisoners.
"We would like to become an endorser before any more damage is done," said spokesman Agha Jafri. "The Defense Department should have been aware that there are two main forms of Islam and that it was only Wahhabism that is being represented."
I find that last comment puzzling. (My understanding is that Sunnism and Shi'ism are the two main forms of Islam; within Sunnism there are four schools of jurisprudence, and Wahhabism is a development within one of those schools—the Hanbali.) But it sure seems like there must be better candidates to help with accommodating Muslim practice in the service. Whether you believe Sgt. Hasan Akbar was a little lost lamb or a righteous brother wreaking vengeance on Amerikkka, this is a matter of more than incidental concern.
[All individuals, groups, and organizations should be considered innocent until proven guilty, offer void where prohibited, etc.]