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Muslim US Army Chaplain Detained Following Work with al Qaida Detainees - 2003-09-21


A U.S. Army Muslim chaplain who worked with suspected Taleban and al Qaida prisoners at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, has been detained and is under investigation.

U.S. military officials say Captain James Yee was detained earlier this month and is being held at a military jail in Charleston, South Carolina.

Officials say no charges have been filed against Mr. Yee, a Chinese-American convert to Islam. But several news reports quote unidentified U.S. officials as saying Mr. Yee was caught with classified documents pertaining to Camp Delta, where more than 650 detainees from 43 nations are being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The chaplain was assigned to Camp Delta late last year and had been tending to the detainees' spiritual needs prior to his arrest.

Captain Yee, a graduate of the Army's West Point academy, left the military in the early 1990s. He studied Islam in Syria, and later rejoined the U.S. armed forces as a Muslim Chaplain.

Mr. Yee avoided contact with the news media while stationed at Guantanamo Bay. But one month after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the chaplain told VOA he sought to counter misconceptions about Islam and its teachings.

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