U.S. Muslims seek Pentagon probe on Iraq photo [Archives:2004/728/Last Page]

April 12 2004

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called for a Pentagon investigation of a photograph circulating on the Internet that apparently shows an American soldier mocking an Iraqi child.
The photo sent to CAIR seems to be of an American soldier standing next to two Iraqi children who are giving the thumbs-up sign. One child holds a hand-lettered sign in English that reads: “Lcpl Boudreaux killed my Dad, th(en) he knocked up my sister!” (“Knocked up” is American slang for making someone pregnant out of wedlock.)
“If the United States Army is seeking to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, this is the wrong way to accomplish that goal,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Defense Department officials must take action to let military personnel know that such offensive behavior harms America's image and will not be tolerated.”
Awad said CAIR has also received an anonymous letter from a soldier who recently returned from Iraq that claims a commanding officer engaged in inappropriate conduct with prepubescent Iraqi girls. The letter states that the officer, who was named by the writer, referred to the girls as “pre-rag heads” and coerced local Iraqi leaders to provide them in exchange for protection by American soldiers. (The officer's military unit was also named in the letter.)
The letter-writer indicated revulsion at the officer's alleged actions. He or she wrote: “The thought of all this makes me sick to my stomach. I am afraid to bring this to anyone in the Army, because I am doubtful that they would believe a soldier over the Battalion Commander.”
“These reports point to a disturbing pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed by our military,” said Awad.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has consistently condemned all terrorist acts, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states.