In January, a military judge ordered the detainees were to be handled by men only, after five “high value” terror suspects – including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – said any contact with females violates their religious beliefs.
“Prohibiting women from these assignments discriminates against our troops and allows the enemies of the United States to dictate the terms on which American citizens serve their country,” Shuster wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. “Women in uniform should not have to endure prejudice based on the convictions of enemy combatants, and male soldiers should not be forced to fill these deployments at a higher rate than necessary as a result.”
The Southwestern PA Congressman believes that the U.S. should continue to make allowances for human rights and religious beliefs – such as access to the Quran and breaks during court hearings for defendants to pray – but “we must not compromise our basic principles at the behest of the very individuals who seek to destroy them.”
“Our policies reflect our values. We cannot allow our values to be compromised by prohibiting female soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen from certain assignments due to the objections of our enemies,” Shuster wrote. “We value all that our women in uniform do and have done to keep our nation safe, and must stand by our principles in this war of ideas.”
Thirty-six Representatives have signed on to Shuster’s letter, including PA Congressmen Tim Murphy, Bob Brady, Lou Barletta, Ryan Costello, Keith Rothfus, Tom Marino and Mike Kelly. A military judge is currently in the process of deciding whether the policy will remain in place permanently.