Target: General Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps
Goal: Charge those responsible for bigoted abuse at Parris Island with criminal activity.
One man committed suicide and others suffered grievous bodily harm due to targeted violence against Muslim recruits at the Marine Training Battalion at Parris Island, which already has a reputation for the physical abuse it puts recruits through, according to reports. Twenty enlisted Marines and officers are under investigation, have been removed from their positions, and were identified for potential criminal charges.
These incidents include one that involved an officer allegedly calling a recruit a “terrorist” and burning him in a clothes dryer. The officer forced the recruit to do push-ups in the shower, and then to “dry off” by getting into the dryer in a supposed attempt to root out spies. The instructor ran the dryer for longer and longer periods of time after asking the recruit his religion and receiving the answer “Islam.”
After this, the instructor was allowed to continue training other recruits until another Muslim-American was placed in his platoon. This recruit asked to go to sick call because he “coughed blood a few times” the night before, among other symptoms, but the instructor thought he was feigning the illness, according to reports.
The recruit was forced to sprint lengths of the barracks, and when he collapsed the instructor hit him. Immediately following this, the recruit jumped into a stairwell to his death. It was ruled a suicide, but a Marine Corps official said that a pattern of abuse and absence of oversight and supervision in training were noted as contributing factors.
This type of hazing is abusive and racist. These actions cannot be allowed to let slide and fly under the radar as an acceptable way to “toughen up” our Marines. Recruits deserve to be treated as humans first and foremost, and the good name of the Marine Corps is at risk if the perpetrators are not given just punishment. Sign below to ensure that they are held responsible.
Dear General Neller,
The abusive hazing that has occurred at Parris Island, particularly to Muslim-American recruits, cannot be allowed to stand. It was racist and dehumanizing and is not an appropriate way to strengthen members of our Marine Corps. These actions must be appropriately punished by criminally charging those responsible. The abused recruits and their families deserve justice, and the brutal treatment they endured cannot be condoned.
The suicide of recruit Raheel Siddiqui after his training officer hit and harassed him and the burning of another recruit inside a running clothes dryer because he practices Islam are brutal examples of racism and abuse. The Marine Corps may value physical toughness and the ability to power through grueling events, but as you said yourself in a statement following these investigations, “When America’s men and women commit to becoming Marines, we make a promise to them. We pledge to train them with firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion. Simply stated, the manner in which we make Marines is as important as the finished product.”
The recruits who endured this bigoted and abusive treatment deserve justice, and those responsible must be punished for their actions. The Marine Corps is worthy of admiration and respect, and the Marines and officers who have not upheld that standard must be held accountable for their actions. I urge you to push for criminal charges in response to this violent harassment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rev Bem