On Tuesday, the U.S. military distributed leaflets in Afghanistan that were intended to mock the Taliban but instead deeply offended Muslims. The leaflets featured a white dog, meant to represent the Taliban, with the Muslim profession of faith written over it. In response, Interfaith Alliance president Rabbi Jack Moline issued the following statement:

“The leaflets outraged our Afghan partners and delivered a major public relations boost for the Taliban in the fight for hearts and minds. There’s no excuse for this kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric and imagery from U.S. armed forces. This and similar incidents in the past reveal widespread misunderstanding of Muslims and Islam within our armed services.

“American commanders have apologized for the error and committed to investigating the matter and holding the responsible parties accountable. That’s a solid first step, but we must go further to educate service members and ensure respect for all faiths. It’s no exaggeration to say that Islamophobia in our military puts American lives at risk.

“Respecting all faiths is not just prudent military policy, it’s exactly what our Constitution demands. President Trump, the commander-in-chief, should speak out on the incident and lead by example on these matters.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.