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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 19:10 GMT 20:10 UK
Pentagon to examine Islam remarks
Lt Gen William Boykin
Lt Gen Boykin has a glittering military record
Remarks by a top US intelligence official about religion are to be investigated after they raised a storm.

Lieutenant General William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, asked for the inquiry himself, it was announced on Tuesday.

The general has already denied making public comments portraying the war on terror in religious terms.

But some have interpreted his remarks at Christian gatherings as being directed against Islam.

"General Boykin has requested that an inspector general review this matter and I have indicated that if that's his request, I think it is appropriate," said US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday.

Mr Rumsfeld made no comment himself on the general's remarks, which were made on visits to evangelical Christian churches, saying he would wait for the inspector general's report.

The BBC's Pentagon correspondent, Nick Childs, says that General Boykin has been under a cloud since the story broke last week.

As leader of the war on terror - sparked by the 11 September attacks by Islamic suicide attackers - America is keen to avoid portraying it as a conflict between religions.

General Boykin, who enjoys a glittering military record as an officer and a commando, said earlier that his remarks about one particular Muslim fighter in Somalia had been misinterpreted and he insisted he was not "anti-Islam or any other religion" and supported the "free exercise of all religions".


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