For James Yousef Yee (41), who was once part of the US-led ‘Global War on Terrorism’ and served as fire control officer at a Patriot missile unit in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and in his second stint as US Army chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, terrorism is yet to be defined.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Yee said, “There is still no global consensus to define terrorism. For me terrorism is a crime, and it should be handled in that way. And the person who indulges in terrorism should be treated like any other criminal.”
Yee, who is part of the 30-odd foreign personalities addressing the 10-day International Islamic Conference and Exhibition at Somaiya Grounds in Sion (East), said that Indian government should look into the reasons on why terrorist acts have been carried out within the country.
“The past incidents (historically) on why a particular community has been alienated or feels so, should be looked into,” said Yee, while referring to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the series of terrorist acts carried out by the homegrown terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen.
Yee, during his stint at Guantanamo Bay, was charged by the US Army with five offences of sedition, aiding the enemy (Taliban or Al-Qaeda), spying, espionage, and failure to obey a general order.
He was sent to solitary confinement for 76 days at a US Navy facility. But the charges against the officer could not be established, and were later reduced to mishandling classified information.
“At the moment, I would not advocate any US Muslim youth to join the armed forces. The conditions (which he did not elaborate) are not just right,” said Yee.
The only solution to curb acts of terrorism is to involve Muslims in the main stream, advocates Yee. “You have to trust Muslims. If a particular act of terrorism is perpetrated or planned, it is the community which will get to know about it first,” said Yee.
Yee also appealed to the Muslim community to participate more in the social and civic activities, and to involve themselves in the political aspects of the country.
“The community should take a step towards knowing the system, at the same time the government should also be proactive to involve the community,” Yee added.