Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Pentagon Confirms Five Cases of Qur'an Abuse

The Associated Press is reporting today that the Pentagon is confirming several instances when U.S. government personnel at Guantanamo desecrated or "mishandled" the Qur'an. In one case, a soldier kicked the Qur'an; in another an interrogator (who was fired for "a pattern of unacceptable behavior") stepped on the Qur'an; in another, a guard's urine came from an air vent and splashed onto a prisoner and a Qur'an; in another, a two-word obscenity was written on the inside cover of a Qur'an.

In a clever and frequent move on the part of a U.S. government that wishes to fly under the news radar, the Pentagon's confirmation was released to news agencies after business hours today. This is usually done because it is a fairly well-known fact that Saturday newspapers do not have the circulation of issues on other days of the week, particularly Sunday. The hope of the U.S. government is clearly to avoid the maximum level of criticism for the multiple actions of its employees by minimizing the exposure the story receives. However, the story has the possibility of sticking around and is sure to outrage Muslims across the globe even more. The U.S. is seen as waging a war against Islam, under the guise of fighting an amorphous and undefined "war on terror;" actions such as those that the Pentagon confirmed today do little to combat that notion.

Of the over 539 prisoners currently at Guantanamo, the vast majority have been held for over three years without being charged with a crime. In fact, more prisoners have been released to their home countries than have been charged with crimes.

The Pentagon also says it has documented 15 cases when prisoners mistreated the Qur'an, from using one as a pillow to ripping one up. As I stated in a previous entry, I have an extremely difficult time believing this. The Qur'an is highly revered by Muslims, perhaps more so than many in the West can understand.