Author James Yee, a former prison chaplain for the U.S Army who was falsely accused of aiding alleged Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners and held in the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will discuss his ordeal at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).
The lecture, scheduled for Feb. 27, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in the NJIT Campus Center Atrium, is free and open to the public.
Yee published an account of his Guantanamo prison experience called For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.
As the book recounts, Yee, a third-generation Chinese-American and a West Point graduate, converted to Islam in 1991. After serving in the aftermath of the first Gulf War as an officer, he studied Arabic and the traditional Islamic sciences. Four years later, he earned a certificate of Islamic studies. In 2001, he became U.S. Army Muslim chaplain.
Yee was later picked to be the first U.S. Army Muslim chaplain to serve at Guantanamo Bay, the location of the U.S. prison camp for alleged enemy combatants. But in September 2003, he was secretly arrested on his way to meet his wife and daughter and put in a Navy prison, where he was subject to much of the same treatment visited upon the Guantanamo detainees. He was accused of spying and aiding the Taliban and Al Qaeda and spent 76 days in solitary confinement.
After months of investigation, the U.S government dropped the charges against him. With his record clean, Yee was reinstated to full duty at Fort Lewis, Washington. Last year, he resigned from the U.S. Army and received an honorable discharge. He was awarded a second U.S. Army Commendation Medal for his meritorious service.
During his lecture, Yee will also discuss Asian-American and religious diversity issues, as well as the challenges the nation faces in trying to balance national security while preserving civil liberties. His lecture is sponsored by the NJIT Graduate Student Association, the NJIT Chapter of Amnesty International and the Muslim Student Association at NJIT.