Washington Post: Issue Apology for Glorifying ISIS Leader as “Austere Religious Scholar"

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The undersigned are American citizens, former service members and national security professionals who have in the past taken the oath to defend our nation, including American-Muslims, some of whom have worn the uniform of the world’s greatest nation, the United States of America.

The Washington Post marked our military’s successful killing of the world’s most-wanted terrorist, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, by calling him an “austere religious scholar” in its headline, cloaking Baghdadi with the religious authority and legitimacy at the core of humanity’s ideological struggle against ISIS. 

We condemn The Washington Post’s headline in the strongest possible terms. We demand an apology and accountability in the form of an internal review. To that end, we highly encourage the utmost public transparency during that process.

This is not a debate over foreign policy. This is not a partisan critique. This is not a war of words or semantics. This is simply a demand that we call Baghdadi what he was: a terrorist who perpetrated genocide, mass rape, slavery, and horrors reserved only for the darkest chapters of human history.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi directed, oversaw, and personally engaged in some of the most horrific human rights violations the world has seen. He personally directed the capture, torture, and murder of four American civilians. He reportedly personally engaged in raping an American who had dedicated her life to helping others. 86 American service members and two U.S. Department of Defense civilians lost their lives in Operation Inherent Resolve, the campaign to defeat ISIS.

The Washington Post made a critical and reckless misstep, violated the public trust, ignored their fundamental obligation to the American people, to the truth, and committed a substantial injury not just to the memory and families of our fallen, but to all of the American people.

We acknowledge the headline was changed. We also acknowledge that your senior leadership failed to comment, failed to apologize, and failed to provide any degree of professional and due accountability. We are hopeful that The Washington Post can rise above this egregious failure to remedy the injury it has caused our great nation.

The views expressed in this letter are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force, or the U.S. Department of Defense.



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