U.S. campaigns with humiliation and disrespect
Since 2002, the United States has waged a campaign of humiliation and disrespect for Islam in its treatment of detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Afghanistan. Reports of the mishandling and desecration of the Holy Qu’ran go back that far. The Newsweek article, which was later retracted, about Qu’ranic mistreatment was nothing new.
Detainees have reported these abuses to their lawyers, the International Red Cross and ultimately the U.S. government. The New York Times has written about it, the London Guardian, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and the list goes on. Each of these reputable newspapers reported that the Holy Qu’ran was being used as a means of torture of the Muslim detainees.
It has been reported that the Holy Qu’ran was used by interrogators to stand on, sit on, pages were torn out and thrown down the toilet, and that guards kicked and stomped on the Holy Book.
Add these ongoing cruelties to the lies that President George Bush and the American government told to wage war against Iraq and the protests seen in Afghanistan leaving 16 dead and over 100 injured was a time bomb waiting to explode.
“The American people are sheltered from the real protests going on around the world,” observed Minister Abdul Akbar Muhammad, Nation of Islam International Representative. “If America could get a view of the Muslim world, they would see the scope of demonstrations, they would see the real gravity of the situation. Newsweek never said what they wrote wasn’t true, they just printed a retraction. They had no idea the article would cause this uproar.”
The government refuted these accusations of Qu’ranic desecration. Lawrence Di Rita, chief Pentagon spokesman, claimed that the Pentagon had never received any “credible allegations” about “the willful desecration of the Koran as a component of interrogations” at Guantanamo.
“I think what you’ll see there is a command philosophy that is clearly one of treating religious items, including the Koran, with a great deal of respect,” he said at a press briefing May 17.
That response has satisfied few who have witnessed the revelations of Abu Ghraib prison and heard the reports of detainees.
Former detainee Mohamed Mazouz told a Moroccan newspaper, La Gazette du Maroc, in April that U.S. troops in Bagram, Afghanistan, urinated on the Holy Qu’ran.
According to the Palestine Chronicle, The Independent newspaper in London reported August 5, 2004 that ex-Guantanamo detainees “Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul … said one inmate was threatened after being shown a video in which hooded inmates were forced to sodomize each other. Guards allegedly threw prisoners’ Qu’rans into toilets, while others were injected with drugs, it was claimed.” How about a story by James Gordon Meek and Derek Rose for the Daily News in New York, published the same day as The Independent‘s story, where they reported that Asif Iqbal, writing of his time at Guantanamo, lamented: “They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it.”
In response to these reported abuses, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a press conference May 18 to support a resolution that “recognizes that the Qur’an, as any other holy book of any religion, should be treated with dignity and respect.” The resolution would be introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and also “condemns bigotry and intolerance against any religious group, including our friends, neighbors and citizens of the Islamic faith.”
“This resolution expresses America’s respect for the holy texts of all faiths. If passed, it will also reiterate our nation’s condemnation of bigoted behavior and religious intolerance,” said Corey Saylor, CAIR’s government affairs director. resolution of this type does not have the force of law; however, it is the expression of the opinion of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Conyers’ sent a statement that said, in part: “I plan to introduce a Sense of the Congress resolution later this week to show how strongly I feel about this matter, and the administration will have to do a lot more than blame the press to address their problems with Muslims in America and around the world.”
“We have made the job of our enemies all too easy by sanctioning torture and by white-washing prisoner abuse investigations. We also need to embrace the Muslim people and tolerance if we are truly interested in supporting democracy around the world.”
The disrespect continues with the recent photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear. The Peninsula, Qatar’s leading English daily newspaper, wrote May 22, “Humiliating” was the response of foes and friends alike of Saddam Hussein, united in their anger over the publication of intimate photographs of the jailed Iraqi dictator by a British tabloid.
“It’s shameful,” said Mohammad Radhi, a Baghdad coffee shop owner. “It’s a warning from the Americans to other Arab leaders, to tell them: ‘This could happen to you.’ It’s also a message to the insurgents to show them how far their hero has fallen,” he suggested.
This is the tip of the iceberg, but the outrage around the world is muffled in America. There is intense dislike for America by other countries. Countries that are trying to be allies of America must now join the chorus that condemns this heinous act.
Muslims are dying all over the world. Lives are lost daily. The same protest and fervor should be shown for those who believe in the words printed on the pages of the Holy Qu’ran.
- The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s press conference on this subject is available at: http://www.finalcall.com/webcast/05-25-2005