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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The brother of a Utah Marine charged with desertion says the military has an anti-Muslim bias.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mohamad Hassoun says military officials have treated Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun more harshly than others.
The brother refuses comment when asked if he's spoken with Wassef.
In December, Hassoun was charged with desertion after disappearing from his unit in Iraq last summer. He claimed then that he had been abducted.
Mohamad said the pressure of that desertion charge and an argument with his new wife drove Wassef to desert the military last month for what the Marines claimed was the second time.
Mohamad said there's no basis for the original desertion charge and says it's built on hearsay and bias against Muslims.
A military spokesman says that claim is wrong, and that Hassoun's case is based on evidence, not religion.
Mohamad said there are thousands of deserters who are AWOL and don't show up on the Naval Criminal Investigative Services' most wanted list like his brother has.
Mohamad has asked his brother to return home and defend himself. He says until the truth is known, no one should jump to conclusions.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)