The US Army has removed a slideshow used as training material for US Army Reserve recruits that describes “Ultra-Orthodox” Jews as religious extremists, equivalent to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a report in London’s Daily Mail newspaper. The slideshow also describes “Catholicism,” the largest religious sect in the world, “Evangelical Christianity” and “Islamophobia” in similar terms.
According to the slideshow, an “extremist organization” is one “which advocates the use of force or violence [or]….advocates supremacist causes.” The US currently designates Hamas, as well as many other Islamist terrorist organizations as terrorist groups, but Ultra-Orthodox Jews as a group are not considered to be a terrorist organization.
Reportedly, the Southern Poverty Law Center was used as a source for the training material. The SPLC does describe “radical traditionalist Catholics” and the JDL as “hate groups,” but it does not single out Catholics or “Ultra-Orthodox” Jews.
The slideshow says that “Soldiers are prohibited from…attending a Meeting or Activity with Knowledge that the Meeting or Activity Involves and [sic] Extremist Cause,” which would seem to constitute a ban on practicing Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews serving in the Army Reserves.
The Washington Times reports that “An Army spokesperson said the presentation ‘was produced by an individual without anyone in the chain of command’s knowledge or permission.’ The Army removed the offending slide after receiving complaints. The person responsible for the presentation ‘was not a subject matter expert, and produced the material after conducting Internet research.”