Muslim Women Are Not Target Practice

A Navy SEAL training facility will not use an image of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and aiming a gun as target practice after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. A photo of the image can be seen on The Virginian-Pilot.

Wrote Nihad Awad, CAIR’s director:

Using a Muslim woman wearing a religious head scarf with [verses from the] Quran behind her as a target for our nation’s military personnel is offensive and sends a negative and counterproductive message to trainees and to the Muslim-majority nations to which they may be deployed.

This is yet another example of why the Department of Defense needs to fix what appears to be an ongoing problem by consulting credible scholars and experts to review all training and training materials related to Islam or Muslims.

The image of the Muslim woman is not the only thing that is troubling about the $11.5 million training range in Fort Storey, Virginia. It is described as a “kill house” that contains different “zones,” some designed to resemble “mosque, bank, post office, market and residential compound,” an elementary school classroom and, something said to be “more sinister,” a “torture chamber accessed through a bus station wall.” “Details” for these “zones” were taken from “actual raids over the past decade” according to Capt. Tim Szymanski, the commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group Two.

The Virginian-Pilot emphasizes certain details in particular. One area contains “Styrofoam toilets in a deliberately filthy bathroom.” The manager of the complex, Larry Pacifico, says that he plans to use “smell generators” with “rotting meat and third-world bathroom” being two “options” to render “the training experience more vivid.”

All this, plus that cardboard image of a Muslim woman, give the facility the “vibe of a third-world country,” says The Virginian-Pilot.

It all also creates some — to completely understate the matter — highly negative perceptions about Muslims and the Middle East. Writes Omid Safi, a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on Religion News Service:

Can the folks in charge at the NAVY not see how this contributes to the dehumanizing of Muslims, not just Muslim women, not just Muslim civilians, but all Muslims?

On Friday, a  Naval Special Warfare Group spokesman said that the target of the Muslim woman had been removed and that the Navy “will explore other options for future training,” according to The Virginian-Pilot. Is it too much to ask that some instruction in “cultural sensitivity 101″ be included?

Related Care2 Coverage

Muslim Woman Beaten to Death in Her Own Home

Muslim College Student Reports Sexual Harassment, Gets Reported To FBI For Terrorism And Expelled

Toddler Put on TSA’s “No Fly” List, Taken Off Plane


Photo by Proxy Indian


devon leonard
Devon Leonard5 years ago

Oh such sadness.....yes some training in cultural sensitivity is dearly needed. And it should be on-going.

Mary Mattarelli
Mary Mattarelli5 years ago


dennis T5 years ago

Sorry but if I see sombody in a white sheet & pointed hat I'm going to think racist, terrorist......
if I see somebody in a hajib I'm going to hater....because I've always heard it's against their religion to even touch dogs.....or show kindness to any animal. I saw a discussion
online where someone asked if a Muslim could be a vegetarian. One person said no....but another said actually, it was not forbidden if it was strictly for health purposes....but if it was
because of wanting to show compassion for animals, then was not permitted.
......and please.....if I'm wrong, Let me know.....I've been wrong many times about many if there are any Muslim vegans/animal rescuers....reading this....tell me & I will
happily apoligize.

Jessica L.
Janne O5 years ago

"One of my really good friends wears a Hijab, the most common head covering for Muslim women. Does this means she deserves to be shot at for wearing a pretty scarf on her head.?? This is sickening and disgusting using innocent citizens, Mothers, Sisters and just simply normal people as target practice!!!"

Sophie D, get a reality check and take a look at the picture in question! The woman in the image isn't used a target practice due to her hijab, it's due to the gun in her hand. The one she's pointing at someone with.

Talk about PC thinking gone amok!

Sophie Dunham
Sophie Dunham5 years ago

One of my really good friends wears a Hijab, the most common head covering for Muslim women. Does this means she deserves to be shot at for wearing a pretty scarf on her head.?? This is sickening and disgusting using innocent citizens, Mothers, Sisters and just simply normal people as target practice!!! It is like the middle ages - how anyone could have signed off on that or ok'd it is beyond me... Shame on the military... Absolute shame.

Lynn Squance
Lynn Squance5 years ago

This is totally unacceptable and only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes.

I can understand the need for practice however perhaps a generic form that is colour coded --- red for enemy combatant, green for civilian, blue for allied troops etc. Leave out the ethnicity, the skin colours etc. Personally, wouldn't it be even better if as the song says "I ain't gonna study war no more."?

Richard Zane Smith

marc p,
it sounds sexist to say that men should be protectors of women?
When men are NOT learning to be protectors and have no idea of how to defend women, then men can easily become predators- misplaced aggression.
yes, women can also become infected with patriarchalism too.

marc page
Marc P5 years ago

Richard Zane S.Hate to say it, but your comment is sexist. Recently in Connecticut we had a woman stomp her child to death while taking a video of it on her cell phone. She then sent the video to the child's father with a hate filled rant. Not too nurturing and caring. To think that anyone cannot commit a crime or act of violence just because "It goes against nature." is absurdly naive. And suggesting that women need men as protectors is (To me.) insulting - And I'm a guy.

Richard Zane Smith

Robert L,
if only that were true for average citizens worldwide.
Patriotic Propaganda works like advertizing. People buy even when they know they are being deceived. Why? Because it's designed to get into our emotions. People seem to be generally pulled and swayed by triggering their emotions, and not as often by any rational thinking.

Robert Ludwig
Robert Ludwig5 years ago

U.S. Department of Defense: Winning hearts and minds nowhere since 1960.