The suicide of a Muslim military recruit at the Marine Corps' oldest and most famous training center is eliciting little sympathy among some servicemen who have weathered the taunts, humiliations, and occasional outbursts of physical abuse that they say is part and parcel with the boot camp experience.
Dozens of self-identified Marines are publicly defending the culture of hazing that's at the center of a military investigation into the death of Raheel Siddiqui. The 20-year-old recruit fatally plunged 40 feet down a barracks stairwell at the Marine Corps' Parris Island facility just days after he arrived in March. The inquiry, which launched following Siddiqui's suicide, has since widened to uncover a widespread pattern of mistreatment at the storied South Carolina boot camp, according to an investigation published last week the Marines Corps Times. Twenty enlisted Marines and officers have been implicated in the investigation and could face criminal charges, the New York Times reported.
The revelations have a touched off a firestorm across two separate Marine Corps Times Facebook threads as well the comments section of the publication's original report. Those Marines and their supporters who have piped up publicly have characterized the harsh treatment as a rite of passage.
"This little boy never should have been sworn in," wrote Jamie Northam of Siddiqui, who attributed his own survival in combat to the physical and emotional punishment he endured at boot camp. "He was not ready, probably never would have been. I feel no pity. The Corps dodged a bullet IMHO."
Nathan Nail, who praised his own time at Parris Island, said. "It sucks a kid died, but you don't make an omelet without cracking eggs," he said. "This isn't the Boy Scouts, you aren't training people to knit. This is the marine corps, and you need men and women that are trained and mentally prepared to stop someone's heartbeat, permanently."
Others continued, defending the harsh treatment as a rite of passage:
However, the military's inquiry into Parris Island show just how brutal that rite of passage can be. The investigation found that a drill instructor who came into contact with Siddiqui allegedly slapped, abused and repeatedly harassed the young recruit. This same instructor, according to investigators, allegedly called a different Muslim recruit a "terrorist" and made him enter a running commercial clothes dryer, which burned the recruit's body.
SEE ALSO: Backlash faced by Muslims in the U.S.
Backlash faced by Muslims in US
Backlash faced by Muslims in US
Egyptian-American community activist Rana Abdelhamid (L) demonstrates a move during a self-defense workshop designed for Muslim women in Washington, DC, March 4, 2016 in this handout photo provided by Rawan Elbaba. Picture taken March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Rawan Elbaba/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Young Muslims protest U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before being escorted out during a campaign rally in the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Convention and Entertainment Center in Wichita, Kansas March 5, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Janice Tufte of Seattle, a Muslim, participates in a pro-refugee protest organized by Americans for Refugees and Immigrants in Seattle, Washington November 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Redmond
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A group of Muslims pray before a rally in front of Trump Tower December 20, 2015 in New York. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump proposed a call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10, 2015: Fire and hazmat crews arrive on the scene to investigate a suspicious letter delivered to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on December 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. CAIR is the largest non-profit Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, with offices two blocks from the U.S. Capitol building. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/12/09: Hand-lettered Love Your Muslim Neighbor sign held aloft. City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito led an interfaith rally of political leaders and clergy on the steps of city hall to denounce Republican candidate Donald Trump's call to ban Muslim entry into the US. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC DECEMBER 2:
Ibrahim Hashi, a Muslim veteran of the United States military, is pictured in his American University dorm room, where a Marine Corp flag hangs on his living room wall, on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, in Washington, DC. Since leaving the Marines as a corporal in 2011, Hashi has heard more anti-Muslim rhetoric than ever.
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Those details were enough to give some Marines pause. "Does boot camp require hardcore treatment and a certain level of hazing?" asked Pierre Richard. "Yes, but not to the extent that the drill instructors start abusing their recruits... That is a violation of the oath they took to train and groom those recruits."
Others remained unswayed. "This is the Marines not band camp!!!" wrote Don Rubino. "If we reported all the so called abuse we wouldn't be Marines. Semper Fi."