(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 8/9/2010) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed James “Yusuf” Yee as its new executive director.
Yee was raised in New Jersey and is a third-generation Chinese-American who converted to Islam in 1991. After serving in the aftermath of the first Gulf War as a Patriot Missile Fire Control Officer, he traveled to Damascus, Syria, to study Arabic and Islam. He returned to active duty as a U.S. Army Muslim Chaplain in January 2001.
Following September 11, 2001, Chaplain Yee represented Muslims in the military “with great distinction” handling a multitude of national and global media requests. He worked to educate soldiers about Islam by building bridges of understanding.
Yee unexpectedly made national headlines in 2003 when he was arrested for objecting to the abuse of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. He was falsely accused of espionage and aiding the enemy. He was cleared of all charges after a high profile pre-trial hearing. After tendering his resignation, he received an honorable discharge. Yee later received a second U.S. Army Commendation Medal for “exceptionally meritorious service”.
CAIR partnered with Yee in his quest for justice.
“Mr. Yee has the vision and versatility CAIR-NJ needs to meet the complex issues and challenges facing the American Muslim community today. He brings with him a demonstrated record of leadership, professionalism and accomplishment, a results-oriented attitude and dedication, and a passionate commitment to public service and to the community,” said CAIR-NJ Chairman Ahmed Al Shehab.
In June 2006, Chaplain Yee earned a master’s degree in international relations. He lectures about his harrowing ordeal, Guantanamo Bay, Islam, Asian-American and religious diversity issues, and the challenges of protecting both national security and civil liberties.
“CAIR-NJ touches the lives of Americans every day by fighting for civil rights, empowering American Muslims and building bridges with the greater public,” said Yee. “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the New Jersey community.”
He has appeared on national and international news programs and has made presentations on Capitol Hill to congressional staff members, at Harvard, Dartmouth, Duke, Northwestern universities, and to several other institutions of higher learning.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director James Yee, 908-668-5900 or 908-938-5990; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. CAIR-NJ Chairman Ahmed Al Shehab, email@example.com