The plight of an Army lieutenant colonel whose career was abruptly ended after a controversial course on Islam he taught to other soldiers was made public has garnered the attention of two members of Congress.
Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a decorated combat veteran, was terminated from his duties as a military educator with the Joint Forces Staff College of the National Defense University after his class ‘Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism’ was deemed to be offensive to those of the Muslim faith. The controversy began last October when 57 Muslim organizations submitted a letter to the Defense Department demanding that all courses and training materials that could be deemed offensive to Islam be removed from the course curriculum. The letter also requested that instructors of the classes be disciplined. In April, one of Dooley’s students also registered a complaint in regards to the course and Dooley’s instruction. This ultimately led to cancellation of the course and Dooley’s eventual termination by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey.
Reps. Thomas Rooney (R-Florida) and Duncan Hunter (R-California) responded to Dempsey in a letter dated October 10 concerning Dooley’s termination.
“As Members of the House Armed Services Committee, we are writing regarding the Army’s recent issuance of a negative Officer Evaluation Report (OER) to Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley… In his 18-year career, LTC Dooley had never received a negative OER, until this year.” Rooney and Hunter would continue, ‘We respectfully request a response addressing why suspending the JFSC elective was not the final course of action in this matter, or any information and/or actions the DoD considered in issuing LTC Dooley a negative OER.”
A spokesman for Dempsey, Marine Col. David Lapan, said the chairman would respond directly to the legislators and declined to speak for this story, according to a report by Wired Magazine.
Dooley has also received support from the Thomas More Law Center, a national nonprofit public interest law firm who lists their mission is to “defend(s) and promote(s) America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life” along with a “strong national defense.” In a press release from October 15, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center Richard Thompson weighed in on the situation.
“The purpose of the Army is to fight and win wars. So what happened to LTC Dooley is more than a personal miscarriage of justice. When instructors are prohibited from teaching military officers about the true threat posed by Islamic Radicalism, it is a threat to our national security. Our warfighting potential is thus being crippled by the political correctness and appeasement of radical Muslims currently in vogue at the upper echelons of the Pentagon.”
To add insult to injury, recent reports highlight the fact that known supporters of radical Islam may in fact have been involved in the initial complaint letter submitted to the Pentagon. According to a report posted on The Blaze, organizations who signed the letter included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both of which we named as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing case in the history of the U.S.
Actions surrounding how Dooley’s case has been handled by the Pentagon are also disconcerting for Christians in the light of recent anti-proselytizing actions taken by the Air Force. Although preferential treatment among religious groups is not condoned by the military, Islam often appears to receive preferential treatment, where Christianity’s reach becomes more and more limited. The civil suit filed on Dooley’s behalf could go a long way in determining how the Pentagon handles religious issues moving forward.