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 celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.