ISNA Lauds Heroic Soldier, Expresses Concern for Safety of Afghan Civilians

ISNA Lauds Heroic Soldier, Expresses Concern for Safety of Afghan Civilians and Effects of War on U.S. Soldiers

(Plainfield, IN | March 30, 2012) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) sends our prayers and condolences to the family of U.S. soldier Dennis Weichel, who lost his life while saving the life of a young Afghan girl. According to a CNN report, Weichel died this week in a non-combatant accident while pushing a young Afghan girl out of the path of a large military vehicle, but did not have time to get away himself.

ISNA remains increasingly worried for the safety of the Afghan people and the mental well-being and safe return of our nation’s soldiers as the devastating effects of war continue. This true act of bravery is a positive beacon shining through the persistent accounts of increasing tensions between the people of Afghanistan and the U.S. military.

War and military conflict take many victims, as we were reminded all too tragically when we heard the news earlier this month of 16 innocent Afghan civilians murdered in their homes by a rogue U.S. soldier.

“Those unjustified murders were yet another tragic example of the devastation caused by this ongoing war. Civilians living in war zones are repeatedly subjected to cruel treatment and the loss of loved ones,” stated ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid. “Meanwhile, soldiers face so much psychological trauma that they become capable of such heinous acts.”

The tragedy is indicative of a much larger problem in the U.S. military as our soldiers struggle to cope with the devastating psychological effects of war and innocent Afghan civilians continue to pay the ultimate price of war with their lives.

ISNA calls for a full investigation beyond this particular tragedy into the quality of cultural sensitivity training and psychological care for U.S. military personnel.

A recent study, “Costs of War,” published by Brown University, estimates that more than 130,000 civilians and 6,000 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan since the U.S. military invasion in 2003. An additional 7.8 million people have been displaced due to the ongoing wars and more than 550,000 U.S. soldiers are recorded as applying for disability benefits due to injury or illness in the wars.

The actions of Weichel remind us of what the true goal of current U.S. intervention in Afghanistan should be — to work together with Afghanistan to protect innocent lives. We pray for the safe return of all our nation’s soldiers and for the safety of all innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and every nation facing conflict across the world.

ISNA is an association of Muslim organizations and individuals that provides a common platform for presenting Islam, supporting Muslim communities, developing educational, social and outreach programs and fostering good relations with other religious communities, and civic and service organizations.
Source: ISNA