A high-ranking military officer is continuing to fight after losing his teaching job over complaints from Muslim groups about the content discussed in his class.
Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley is a decorated Army veteran, who has served in the Armed Forces for nearly 20 years. He was also an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College at the National Defense University, where Dooley was reportedly well-received.
However, after the federal government received complaints from over 50 Muslim groups for teaching a course on “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism,” he was given a negative Officer Evaluation Report — the equivalent of being blacklisted. Dooley states that his course had been approved by the military a number of years ago, and it was not until complaints were received that he was ordered to stop.
“It was a course that had been going on at the National Defense University since 2004,” Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Law Center, which is representing Dooley, told reporters. “His superiors knew what the course was all about. The first time they evaluated him … as an instructor there, they rated him outstanding [and] indicated that he should be moved as quickly as possible to a command position.”
However, Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff labeled Dooley’s class as being “against our values.”
The complaints that brought the matter to Dempsey’s attention, and to others within the government, came in the form of a letter that was sent to a number of federal agencies, including the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.
“The undersigned Muslim, Arab and South Asian organizations write regarding the federal government’s use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam,” it read. “The seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated, and we request that the White House immediately create an interagency task force to address this problem…”
“The use of bigoted trainers and materials like those above is not only highly offensive, disparaging the faith of millions of Americans, but leads to biased policing that targets individuals and communities based on religion, not evidence of wrongdoing,” the letter continues. “Inaccurate and bigoted training materials also foster fear and suspicion of American Muslims amongst law enforcement and the general public, increasing discrimination, bullying, harassment and anti-Muslim violence.”
Some believe that the letter also led officials to revise training materials that contained language deemed to be “offensive” to Muslims. The Washington Times reports that Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, who opposed the move, noted that military documents may “no longer mention the terms: Islam, Muslim, jihad, enemy, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, caliphate [or] Shariah law.”
As for Dooley, he fears that his career is over due to the issuance of the negative Officer Evaluation Report.
“He will never have the opportunity for promotion unless this is overturned,” Thompson explained.
Therefore, Dooley is fighting to clear his name and resume his position as an instructor. He has put Dempsey on notice that he may file a lawsuit for “violating academic freedom” and “caving in to Islam.”
“In order to appease Muslims and the White House, General Dempsey and the Department of Defense rushed to punish Dooley,” Thompson stated. “In the process, they violated not only our nation’s core principles of free speech and academic freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, but also, a number of the military’s own regulations dealing with academic freedom and non- attribution policies of the National Defense University to which Dooley was assigned.”
In addition to the Thomas Moore Law Center, several United States Congressmen are defending Dooley as well.
“It is our understanding that Dooley did not violate any established university practices, policies or DoD regulations to merit a negative OER,” wrote Representatives Tom Rooney of Florida and Duncan Hunter of California in a letter issued this month to Dempsey. “It appears that LTC Dooley led this course well within the scope of NDU’s professorial guidelines…”
While Dooley is still able to serve in the military, he may not teach classes on Islam until further notice. He is also restricted from speaking publicly about his case.