Watch CBS News

'Any Indication Of Hazing' Investigated As Search For Truth Continues In Death Of Muslim Michigan Marine

TAYLOR (WWJ) - Was the death of a young Michigan Marine at boot camp a result of hazing over his religion?

It's being considered as U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) digs for more details surrounding the death of Private Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor at Parris Island, South Carolina, earlier this year.

Siddiqui was undergoing basic training when he died, March 18, just days after he'd arrived at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

At that time military officials would not release any details about the 20-year-old recruit's death, saying that an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service was underway.

Dingell said Tuesday she is among those not convinced that the truth in this matter has been made public, after fielding a number of anonymous phone calls regarding Siddiqui's death.

"...Telling us that they were concerned that he was being hazed because of his religion," Dingell told WWJ's Zahra Huber. "This is a young Muslim man who loved America; he loved his country. All he wanted to do was to fight to defend it."

After some prodding by Dingell, new information has now come to light in the form of a letter.

In the letter, sent to Dingell and released to the media on Tuesday, Brigadier General David J. Furness said two commanding officers at Paris Island have been discharged in connection with the investigation — one back in March and the other just this Monday.

The letter also states that, while "it would be premature to comment" on whether hazing played a role in Siddiqui's death, "any indication of hazing will be carefully investigated." [Read the letter HERE].

Speaking with WWJ's Roberta Jasina on Mackinac Island last week, Dingell said there have been other incidents at the training camp "that are very disturbing."

A handful of recruits have died at Parris Island over the years, according to an Associated Press report. In 2005, a 19-year-old recruit drowned after struggling to pass a combat water survival test. A year later, another recruit died after a physical fitness test

"My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Siddiqui family who need and deserve answers about the death of their son, a class valedictorian who was loved by all who knew him," Dingell said.

"It is critical that the investigations into his death be conducted in a thorough and unbiased manner, but they must also be completed as soon as possible to bring much-needed closure to his family and our community."

Each year about 19,000 recruits come to Parris Island for 12 weeks of training.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.