Just four days after ThinkProgress reported that the United States military academy at West Point was planning to host an Islamophobic general as its featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast, that general has now pulled out of the event. West Point just issued this news release:
LTG (Ret) William Boykin has decided to withdraw speaking at West Point’s National Prayer Breakfast on 8 February 2012. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the United States Military Academy will feature another speaker for the event.
VoteVets, the coalition of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, is to be commended for raising this issue and putting pressure on West Point to do the right thing. VoteVets Chairman Jon Soltz told ThinkProgress this evening, “This is why VoteVets exists — the calls from veterans, activists, and civil rights leaders around the country made this decision possible. I’m glad that the cadets will not be forced to hear the words of an anti-Muslim general whose rhetoric does not align with the values of our military and also endangers our troops in combat.”
Boykin has a deep record of anti-Muslim rhetoric. For instance, he said there should be “no mosques in America”; Muslims worship an “idol”; “Islam is a totalitarian way of life, it’s not just a religion”; “it should not be protected under the First Amendment”; Muslims operate “under an obligation to destroy our Constitution.”
Hopefully, Boykin will learn from this incident that his rhetoric is both wrong and hurtful.