Did US Marine Corps cover up murder of Muslim trainee?
Somehow it seems more likely than not. Niraj Warikoo reports in the Detroit Free Press:
The family of a Taylor man who died in U.S. Marines Corps boot camp in South Carolina last month are raising questions about what happened, saying it’s unlikely he would have committed suicide as a Marines casualty report indicated.
And they’re wondering if he might have been harassed because of his Muslim faith and Pakistani ancestry.
Raheel Siddiqui, 20, died after an incident on March 18 at Parris Island, S.C., where Marine recruits are trained. He arrived at the island on March 7 for 13 weeks of training, but died 11 days into his training, on March 18, said Capt. Greg Carroll, director of public affairs of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, whose district includes Taylor, expressed concern about Siddiqui’s death in an open letter to the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller. In her April 4 letter, she noted Siddiqui’s Muslim faith and wrote: “Some are concerned that hazing may have been involved in the death of Private Siddiqui. Has the Marine Corps received any indication that any hazing occurred in this instance?”
The family’s attorney, Nabih Ayad, told the Free Press Thursday that the family received a casualty report from the Marines that said Siddiqui had passed out during training, was awakened by a trainer and then he ran out and jumped over a ladderwell wall, falling three stories to his death. Ayad said that after Siddiqui fainted, “the trainer smacked him out of it, woke him up smacking him.”
The Naval Criminal Investigation Service is conducting an investigation, said a spokesman for the service, Ed Buice.
“At this point, there are no apparent signs of foul play in his death,” Buice said in an email to the Free Press. “I can confirm that his death is due to injuries sustained in a nearly 40-foot fall in a barracks stairwell.”
Ayad and the family said they don’t believe the Marines’ casualty report indicating that Siddiqui committed suicide.
“It’s extremely odd to think that someone would commit suicide in the middle of his training in the day time, to just jump to his death,” Ayad said. “It’s hard to swallow.” . . .