Response Mixed as Senior General Makes Comments Offensive to Muslims

October 17, 2003

Source: Reuters

On October 17, 2003 Reuters reported that "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declined on Thursday to criticize a senior Pentagon intelligence official who has told Christian gatherings that Muslims worship an "idol" and not "a real God," and instead praised the general's "outstanding" military record. Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and war-fighting support, has used speeches at churches and prayer breakfasts to portray the U.S. battle with Islamic radicals as a fight with 'Satan,' saying they sought to destroy America "because we're a Christian nation... The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights group, called Boykin's comments 'bigoted,' and demanded the Pentagon reassign him. 'Putting a man with such extremist views in a critical policy-making position sends entirely the wrong message to a Muslim world that is already skeptical about America's motives and intentions,' said Nihad Awad, the group's executive director.