A retired lieutenant general, who has a history of anti-Islamic bigotry, has withdrawn from West Point’s National Prayer Breakfast.
After pressure from veteran and Muslim groups, retired Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin decided not to attend the event, according to The New York Times.
“We welcome Mr. Boykin’s withdrawal from this event and hope that the speaker who replaces him will offer cadets a spiritual message that promotes tolerance and mutual understanding,” Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.
President George W. Bush repudiated Boykin in 2003 for various anti-Muslim comments, including the suggestion that the war against terrorism was a war against Satan.
“As has been articulated by GEN Petraeus, [statements similar to Boykin's] remarks threaten our relationships with Muslims around the world, and thereby, our troops serving in harm’s way,” VoteVets Chairman Jon Soltz and Vice Chairman Richard Allen Smith wrote. “It is counterproductive for our future Army leaders to hear the views of LTG Boykin, a man who’s views are inconsistent with the values of the Army as an institution.”
West Point’s office of public affairs has not yet announced a replacement speaker.
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