WEST POINT, N.Y. - A retired US lieutenant general who made comments denigrating Islam has withdrawn from speaking at a West Point prayer breakfast after a veterans advocacy group protested his invitation, the military academy said yesterday.
VoteVets.org told Army chief of staff Raymond Odierno in a letter yesterday that allowing retired Lieutenant General William G. Boykin to speak at the academy next week would be contrary to Army values and disrespectful to Muslim cadets.
Late yesterday, West Point issued a brief statement saying Boykin had decided to withdraw from speaking at the Feb. 8 event and that another speaker would be lined up.
Boykin, a former senior military intelligence officer, has been criticized for speeches he made at evangelical Christian churches beginning in January 2002. He said America’s enemy was Satan, God put President George W. Bush in the White House, and one Muslim Somali warlord was an idol-worshiper.
Boykin later issued a written statement apologizing and said he didn’t mean to insult Islam. But VoteVets.org said Boykin has continued to make denigrating comments about Islam since his 2007 retirement.