The U.S. Navy says it will remove images of Muslim women as targets at a SEAL training range in Virginia Beach, Va.
After The Virginian-Pilot published a photo on Tuesday of a cardboard target, a cutout of a Muslim woman holding a gun and wearing a traditional headscarf called a hijab, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked the Pentagon to pull the targets.
In a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday, Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director, said the target is “offensive and sends a negative and counterproductive message to trainees and to the Muslim-majority nations to which they may be deployed.”
CAIR also voiced concern about verses of the Quran that were hanging on the wall behind the cutout of the Muslim woman.
Hours after the council’s request, the Navy announced it had gotten rid of the controversial target.
“We have removed this particular target and Arabic writing in question from the range in the near-term, and will explore other options for future training,” said Lt. David Lloyd, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Group 2, which oversees SEAL teams 2, 4, 8 and 10 at the base.
The council commended the Navy for removing the targets, but says the military still needs to work harder to battle “Islamophobia.”
“There are all kinds of people all over the world trying to do us harm,” spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper told The Virginian-Pilot. “Why would you use this particularly image in training people how to kill?