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Islamic Group Accuses Rep. Hunter Of War Crimes During His Service In Iraq

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, speak with reporters in Point Loma after a fish...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS

Above: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, speak with reporters in Point Loma after a fishing trip for wounded veterans, Aug. 22, 2018.

A group is calling for an investigation into East County Congressman Duncan Hunter in light of his claim that he likely killed hundreds of civilians while he was a Marine serving in Iraq.

Members of the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) made their case outside Hunter’s El Cajon office Monday. The group said it has collected more than 8,000 signatures asking for the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate Hunter actions while in combat.

"I mean it’s clear from the level of things he’s done he should resign," said CAIR's Executive Director Dustin Craun. "He’s not a good representative of this county — someone who’s literally a war criminal should be in prison."

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

RELATED: Congressman Hunter Says He Probably Killed ‘Hundreds’ Of Civilians While In Combat

Hunter made the comments about killing civilians on the podcast "Zero Blog Thirty" in May.

"So I was an artillery officer we fired Hundreds of rounds into Fallujah," Hunter said. "Killed probably hundreds of civilians — scores — if not hundreds. Probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city after we invaded."

Hunter also admitted to posing in photos with dead enemy combatants.

A spokesman for the Congressman issued a statement that equated CAIR's actions to a political stunt designed to help his Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is Palestinian American.

Reported by Matt Hoffman , Video by Kris Arciaga

"For several years, the local chapter of CAIR has attempted to malign Congressman Hunter with these types of orchestrated stunts in an effort to provide political support for their endorsed candidates," the statement read. "This approach hasn't worked in the past, and it will not work now for the simple reason that anti-Semitic organizations that openly support terrorism warrant zero attention and have zero credibility."

CAIR San Diego refuted that statement. "To say that we’re a terrorist aligned and anti-Semitic when Muslims are Semitic people — it makes no sense and it shows his level of racism and Islamophobia," said Dustin Craun, a CAIR spokesman.

RELATED: Former Military Attorney Calls Hunter’s Comments ‘Outrageous’

Legal experts said Hunter posing with a dead body is not automatically a crime and the statute of limitations would make it unlikely the congressman would be charged.

The 8,000 signatures were collected online across the nation and delivered to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Office.


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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
Health Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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