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Red Cross warned U.S. over Quran

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Red Cross warned U.S. over Quran

Allegations of mishandling preceded Pentagon guidelines

From Elise Labott

CNN Washington Bureau

Thursday, May 19, 2005 Posted: 11:29 PM EDT (0329 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross gathered "credible" reports about U.S. personnel at the Guantanamo Bay naval base disrespecting the Quran and raised the issue with the Pentagon several times, a group spokesman said Thursday.

Simon Schorno said the allegations were made by detainees to Red Cross representatives who visited the detention facility throughout 2002 and 2003.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday the Pentagon in 2003 issued strict guidelines on how U.S. personnel should handle the Quran.

Schorno said the Red Cross heard no more allegations about mishandling of the Quran after the guidelines were issued.

Boucher said the United States works closely with the Red Cross and acknowledged the group "had heard some concerns about the handling of Qurans, which it shared with the U.S."

But he said actions taken in respect of detainees' religious practices at Guantanamo include providing them with Qurans, indicating the direction to Mecca, providing the call to prayer and serving meals according to Muslim customs.

"We have very extensive guidelines about how Qurans are to be handled, who they're to be handled by, the wearing of gloves, how they're to be moved and transported, in order to ensure that no such concerns will arise," Boucher said.

Schorno did not provide specific instances of alleged desecration, instead addressing only to the general issue of disrespecting the Muslim holy book.

"The fact that ICRC documented these allegations, documented them and formalized them, I think makes a difference," Schorno said. "We researched them and found they were credible allegations."

Although Red Cross employees did not personally witness any mishandling of Qurans, Schorno said, they documented and corroborated enough reports from detainees to share them with Pentagon and Guantanamo officials in confidential reports.

Schorno said the Red Cross would not have raised the issue if it had been an isolated incident, but he would not offer specifics about the number of complaints.

"The very fact that we brought up the issue speaks for itself," he said. "We don't make such reports for minor problems."

U.S. officials have often downplayed such complaints about Quran desecration because they came from detainees.

Teams of Red Cross representatives have been making six-week visits to the U.S. detainee camp in Cuba every three months since 2002.

A Red Cross team is currently on the ground at Guantanamo, Schorno said.

A recent Newsweek magazine article alleged that U.S. investigators had concluded that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Quran, in one instance by flushing the Muslim holy book down a toilet.

Newsweek subsequently retracted the report, saying its government source had indicated doubts about his information after publication.

The Bush administration blamed the report, at least in part, for deadly violence that erupted in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

Human Rights Watch said that despite the Newsweek retraction it also had received reports from Muslim detainees -- at Guantanamo Bay, in Afghanistan and in Iraq -- that U.S. interrogators had repeatedly sought to offend their Islamic beliefs in order to humiliate them.

"Several detainees have alleged to Human Rights Watch and others that U.S. interrogators disrespected the Quran," according to a statement issued by the group Thursday.

Reed Brody, a spokesman for Human Rights Watch, noted the Newsweek story "would not have have resonated had it not been for the United States' extensive abuse of Muslim detainees and the government's failure to fully investigate all of those implicated."

The group also denied Newsweek's report caused the damage during last week's anti-American rioting in Afghanistan, blaming instead "violent protesters and poorly disciplined Afghan police and troops."

U.S. officials have acknowledged that investigations are ongoing into reports of religious intolerance -- including desecration of the Quran -- by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay.

"We do listen when people raise questions about the handling of the Quran, and we have made very clear what our policies are," Boucher said.

"The policy and practice that we follow at Guantanamo is to respect the religious rights of the prisoners."

"If there are credible instances that are called to our attention of where those rules were not followed or the policy is not carried out thoroughly, then we investigate," he said.

"We make sure the practices are corrected and improved."

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"Although Red Cross employees did not personally witness any mishandling of Qurans, Schorno said, they documented and corroborated enough reports from detainees to share them with Pentagon and Guantanamo officials in confidential reports"

Key point is the Red Cross did not witness any mishandling.......and this article should have pointed out that straight from the AL Qaeda manual, they are taught as a rule to complain about the mishandling of the Koran...

Of course, when Richard Meyers specifically stated that in his last press conference, the media barely touched it.

Just wondering too........those Muslims who are outraged at this shady story or rumor........where is the outrage against those who have perverted their religion....where is the outrage at the jihadists who are cancers in their society.....where is the outrage when crimes are committed against other religions in the name of Islam..........where is the outrage against the murders of Islamic clerics in Iraq who have been preaching peace and tolerance.......where is the outrage from the Islamic community against those who murdered 17 people, using the Newsweek story as the catalyst........etc, etc, etc, etc,etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc,etc............

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This is relevant here

Rioting, killing in the name of Islam?

The Quran itself raises questions, as does the possibility it was defiled; let's not lose our heads

BY IRSHAD MANJI

Irshad Manji is author of "The Trouble With Islam Today," recently published in paperback. This previously appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

May 18, 2005

So Newsweek has retracted its report about the defiling of Islam's holy book, the Quran, by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay.

But it's too late. Muslims everywhere are questioning America's respect for all religions. Journalists are wondering what standards allowed the charge to be printed without proof.

Foreign policy analysts are asking how the riots incited by the charge will affect the war on terrorism. Still, at least one more question needs to be asked: Even if the Quran was mistreated, are riots justified?

"What do you expect?" my critics will declare. "Abusing the Quran is like abusing basic human rights. If you're a good Muslim, your identity and dignity are bound up in r*****ng the Quran. It's the literal word of God. Unsullied. Unedited. Unlike the other holy books."

Sorry. That argument just doesn't wash. One can appreciate the Quran's inherent worth, as I do, while recognizing that it contains ambiguities, inconsistencies, outright contradictions - and the possibility of human editing. This is not simply a reform-minded Muslim speaking. This is Islamic tradition talking.

For centuries, philosophers of Islam have been telling the story of the "Satanic Verses." The Prophet Muhammad accepted them as authentic entries into the Quran. Later, he realized they deify heathen idols rather than God. So he belatedly rejected the verses, blaming them on a trick played by Satan - which implies that the prophet edited the Quran.

Let's push this point further. Because pious Muslims emulate Muhammad's life, those who compiled the Quran's verses after his death might have followed his example of editing along the way. The compilers were, after all, only human - as human as Muhammad himself.

Moreover, they collected the Quran's verses from sundry surfaces such as bones, stones and bark. How did the passages get there? According to Islamic lore, the prophet, an illiterate trader, couldn't personally record them. His companions served as scribes, often writing from memory. Given so much human involvement, isn't it possible that errors infiltrated the "authoritative" Quran?

In asking this question, I'm neither impugning the allegorical wisdom of the Quran nor inviting a fatwa on my life. I'm saying that Muslims have to get comfortable asking such questions - and not merely whispering them - if we're going to avoid a further desecration of human life.

Riots in Afghanistan have already resulted in at least 14 deaths. Aid workers have been attacked, their offices burned. How does this benefit the cause of dignity - for anyone?

Many will insist that I'm undermining the dignity of Muslims by challenging a pillar of their identity. By urging my fellow Muslims to consider these questions, I'm showing faith in their capacity to be thoughtful and humane. I'm appealing to their heads, rather than only their hearts. Ultimately, I'm fighting not Islam but the routinely low expectations of those who practice it.

Contrast that with the strategy of Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician who rallied his countrymen to express rage based on one paragraph in Newsweek. A fierce rival of Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Khan objects to cooperating with the United States on security matters. He knew his comments about Newsweek would feed the most reflexive of Muslim impulses - to treat the Quran with uncritical veneration.

Such lazy tactics remind me of those used to drive the Miss World Beauty Pageant out of Nigeria in 2002 after a columnist suggested that the prophet would have taken its winner as his wife.

When people believe that certain aspects of religion are off-limits to questions, it doesn't take much to incite violence - or to withhold forgiveness. Even though the offending Nigerian newspaper apologized three times, Muslim protesters set its offices ablaze.

Muslims worldwide are scheduling demonstrations for the end of this month against those who insult Islam. They'll peacefully protest not just the possibility of the Quran's desecration at Guantanamo but the proved torture at Abu Ghraib and civil-rights violations suffered by ordinary U.S. Muslims. They have every right to condemn these injuries.

Will they also speak out against the bloody, fiery riots that, in the name of honoring Islam, are killing an increasing number of Muslims and non-Muslims? It's worth asking.

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Red Cross warned U.S. over Quran

Allegations of mishandling preceded Pentagon guidelines

Schorno said the Red Cross heard no more allegations about mishandling of the Quran after the guidelines were issued.

."

So why would this be the case if they were all lying?

Are you saying that just because they're not outraged by the jihadists the US can do whatever it wants? Thats complete BS. And there's a difference when someone from the "outside" violates your religion compared to someone on the inside. When you clean your house, you don't tell everyone about it. When someone else comes to your house and tries to desecrate it, thats a different story.

And igloo, have you not heard about the reports of people marching in Iraq chanting "no to terrorists"? Have you not heard of Iraqi vigilantes dragging insurgents and beating them to death? There are many instances of this happening - just the right-wing media chooses not to cover it as well.

Which 17 people are you talking about? Most of those were killed by US or govt fire. I'm sure you're not saying that the Iraqis took it to themselves to go around killing each other because of the NEwsweek story.

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So why would this be the case if they were all lying?

Are you saying that just because they're not outraged by the jihadists the US can do whatever it wants? Thats complete BS. And there's a difference when someone from the "outside" violates your religion compared to someone on the inside. When you clean your house, you don't tell everyone about it. When someone else comes to your house and tries to desecrate it, thats a different story.

And igloo, have you not heard about the reports of people marching in Iraq chanting "no to terrorists"? Have you not heard of Iraqi vigilantes dragging insurgents and beating them to death? There are many instances of this happening - just the right-wing media chooses not to cover it as well.

Which 17 people are you talking about? Most of those were killed by US or govt fire. I'm sure you're not saying that the Iraqis took it to themselves to go around killing each other because of the NEwsweek story.

Yes, Raver, I am saying the possibility they are lying, or exaggerating, or stretching the truth, OR FOLLOWING THE AL QAEDA MANUAL...

And no, I am not saying because they are not outraged at the jihadists, the U.S. could do what it wants...not one fucking bit and you know it...But let's put things in fucking perspective here......the moral equivalency test that gets applied is fucking absurd....

It's funny that you talk about violating one's religion...and a diifference when someone outside your house violates it........let me ask you something Raver, do you see the Catholic, Jewish, Buddhists, Hindu, etc religions behave in the same way the Muslims (some) behave when someone "outside" their house desecrates their religion...do you?..

DId the Buddhists call for worldwide jihad when the Taliban crumbled their sacred statues? How about when Muslims desecrated the Church of the Nativity and using pages of the Bible as toilet paper? How about the persecution Christians go through in Muslim lands? Is the Pope instructing his Bishops and Priests to call "non-Muslims" pigs and monkeys? How aboutt the fatwa issued against Rushdie, should the Jewish people call for the slalughter of all AL Jazeera staff since they ran a program how the Zionists are worse than Nazi's? How about when that Dutch artist was murdered because he exposed the Muslim treatment of women?

Should the Christians in this country burn down all the newspaper houses in the country because it exposed the priest scandal? SHould the Pope issue a decree for the killing of the judge who OK'd the removal of the Ten Commandments from a courthouse? Should my local priest tell parishinoers to put aside their textbooks, and other instruments of education, and focus on "eye for an eye" and go out and murder the artists of the painting of Jesus in shit, or the Cross in urine? I could go on and on, but you get the pciture

Raver--I am suprised at your stance here. You are off.

ANd are you kidding me asking me if I heard about Iraqi taking matters into their own hands, and marchces in the streets against terrorism, etc........are you kidding me....I am the one who constantly posts that stuff here....it is the LEFT-WING media that chooses to ignore it...you must be smoking some shit today....I am not talking about ordinary Iraqi people taking to the streets, or the once in a while before a U.S. state visit Saudi cleric who speaks about peace.......and wait a minute, you man good things are happening in Iraq liek that?......pretty funny you posted that

Anyway, the response and the hyporcrisy is much bigger than that you and know it....

Fuck it, don't listen to my view...but that is why I posted the view of a Muslim

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Yes, Raver, I am saying the possibility they are lying, or exaggerating, or stretching the truth, OR FOLLOWING THE AL QAEDA MANUAL...

And no, I am not saying because they are not outraged at the jihadists, the U.S. could do what it wants...not one fucking bit and you know it...But let's put things in fucking perspective here......the moral equivalency test that gets applied is fucking absurd....

It's funny that you talk about violating one's religion...and a diifference when someone outside your house violates it........let me ask you something Raver, do you see the Catholic, Jewish, Buddhists, Hindu, etc religions behave in the same way the Muslims (some) behave when someone "outside" their house desecrates their religion...do you?..

DId the Buddhists call for worldwide jihad when the Taliban crumbled their sacred statues? How about when Muslims desecrated the Church of the Nativity and using pages of the Bible as toilet paper? How about the persecution Christians go through in Muslim lands? Is the Pope instructing his Bishops and Priests to call "non-Muslims" pigs and monkeys? How aboutt the fatwa issued against Rushdie, should the Jewish people call for the slalughter of all AL Jazeera staff since they ran a program how the Zionists are worse than Nazi's? How about when that Dutch artist was murdered because he exposed the Muslim treatment of women?

Should the Christians in this country burn down all the newspaper houses in the country because it exposed the priest scandal? SHould the Pope issue a decree for the killing of the judge who OK'd the removal of the Ten Commandments from a courthouse? Should my local priest tell parishinoers to put aside their textbooks, and other instruments of education, and focus on "eye for an eye" and go out and murder the artists of the painting of Jesus in shit, or the Cross in urine? I could go on and on, but you get the pciture

Raver--I am suprised at your stance here. You are off.

ANd are you kidding me asking me if I heard about Iraqi taking matters into their own hands, and marchces in the streets against terrorism, etc........are you kidding me....I am the one who constantly posts that stuff here....it is the LEFT-WING media that chooses to ignore it...you must be smoking some shit today....I am not talking about ordinary Iraqi people taking to the streets, or the once in a while before a U.S. state visit Saudi cleric who speaks about peace.......and wait a minute, you man good things are happening in Iraq liek that?......pretty funny you posted that

Anyway, the response and the hyporcrisy is much bigger than that you and know it....

Fuck it, don't listen to my view...but that is why I posted the view of a Muslim

So the Al Queda manual says complain about the Quran being flushed down the toilet, then when they "fix" the situation, stop complaining??

Igloo - stop with the ad hom attacks - it really takes away from everything else and is just tiring. And I think you've built a classic straw man. Where, in anything I've said, have I said its OK for people to be fundamentalist in their religious followings. And by the way, desecration of the Quran is punishable by death in certain countries. I don't konw where you were headed with your diatribe about the other religions - are you trying to paint Islamists as fundamentalists? WHy - we already know that, right. By the way, please point me to articles where bibles, torahs, gitas, etc were flushed down the toilet by Islamists while they had the poeple of those respective religions in an illegal detention camp. Thats perspective.

Also regarding the church of the Nativity - the PRIESTS who were holed in there have repeatedly said that it was the Israelis who fired indiscriminately at the building, and they were the ones who did damage to the church. Wiping asses with bible pages - c'mon Igloo, lets not start making blind assumptions here.

Anyway, I've decided long ago this pointless bickering back and forth is not getting anyone anywhere, especially when people on both sides, set in their beliefs, don't budge no matter what evidence is put in front of them.

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So the Al Queda manual says complain about the Quran being flushed down the toilet, then when they "fix" the situation, stop complaining??

Igloo - stop with the ad hom attacks - it really takes away from everything else and is just tiring. And I think you've built a classic straw man. Where, in anything I've said, have I said its OK for people to be fundamentalist in their religious followings. And by the way, desecration of the Quran is punishable by death in certain countries. I don't konw where you were headed with your diatribe about the other religions - are you trying to paint Islamists as fundamentalists? WHy - we already know that, right. By the way, please point me to articles where bibles, torahs, gitas, etc were flushed down the toilet by Islamists while they had the poeple of those respective religions in an illegal detention camp. Thats perspective.

Also regarding the church of the Nativity - the PRIESTS who were holed in there have repeatedly said that it was the Israelis who fired indiscriminately at the building, and they were the ones who did damage to the church. Wiping asses with bible pages - c'mon Igloo, lets not start making blind assumptions here.

Anyway, I've decided long ago this pointless bickering back and forth is not getting anyone anywhere, especially when people on both sides, set in their beliefs, don't budge no matter what evidence is put in front of them.

Nice try Raver, but a little disingenuous on your part with respects to the Koran flushing and AL Qaeda manual twist you just added......OK--they flushed a Koran down the toilet, you win........now what?

Ad hom attacks. Straw man? I nowhere said you claimed it was OK for people to be fundamentalists. I am well aware of your position on all religions and extremists. But you bring up that desecration of the Koran is punishable in some countries--isn't that the point? Isn't that the point of the article written by a Muslim I posted.

"By the way, please point me to articles where bibles, torahs, gitas, etc were flushed down the toilet by Islamists while they had the people of those respective religions in an illegal detention camp. Thats perspective"..........that's perspective?????????????? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?????????????? You are right they don't flush Bibles down the toilet, they simply behead you. Or blow you up eating in a cafe. Or fly planes into buildings. What a ridiculously, absurd thing for you to say. A perefct example of moral equivalency gone wild. This one is not even worth addressing any longer is is so absurd.

Where am I going with my diatribe--well, since you brought up the ridiculous theme about others desecrating "house" you should know exactly where I am coming from...it is not that hard to understand. When the reverse happens, the reaction is quite different. You don't see the other religions going into murderous sweeps because their religion was insulted, and when the fringe elements of those groups do step over the line, they are smacked down by the majority. For you to fail to realize that it unthinkable.

Blind assumptions?..Interesting you use that word. Funny how that same standard is not applied to you cynical, anti-war, anti-Bush types. But if Al Jazeera or a Gitmo detainee states something, that is rock solid. Hey, I wonder why no one gave a shit about the Human Rights reports coming out of Iraq under Saddam hussein. But A U.S. interrogator doing something to an known AL Qaeda murderer, down with the U.S.A.!!

Yes, I too read and heard about Priests talking about Israeli behavior, and there were also reports of what the Muslims did to Bibles.......what, it can't go both ways Raver? But let's stick with your point, that Israel's fired indiscrimately in this Holy Site......should those priests have then issued decrees calling for jihad and crusades against Israel for that desceration? (get the theme right--see above where you didn't know where I was going with my diatribe)

And what evidence are you so concerned about proving...detainees reports, Red Cross, Newsweek (good job of Newsweek, whether it happened or not, showing some moral standards and responsibility--but I guess that is OK too)........Ok, like I said, you win.....they flushed a Koran down the toilet.....the big, bad USA..........Your application of moral equivalency is repulsive. The real desecration of Islam is not what may or may have happened at Gitmo, but jihadists-killing in the name of Islam, radical clerics, religious schools who teach hate and intolerance, 9/11 and every other terrorist murder, madrasses, preaching martyrdom to children, and the Muslims who stand by and allow their religion and world to be hijacked. That is the real desecration of Islam. And those who apply this repulsive brand of moral equivalency as we have seen the last two days are no help.

To repeat: Since you say pointless bickerings go no where, irrespective of evidence..then I repeat, I suggest you read the piece, by a Muslim, on these events. I am sure a progressive like yourself would value the view. Oops, was that an ad hom attack?

You are right Raver....the U.S. should apologize to the world for our disgusting deed, whether it happened or not. I know the world is crowded with apologies for the recent atrocites committed against mankind in the nale of Islam, but we must rise above that.....after all, that works in the Muslim world, right?

Better yet, for the Americans who are more repulsed by a nativity scene at a school, or who defend artwork depicting a cross in urine, or believe an Al Qaeda detainee should be treated better, perhaps this letter would work:

Dear Concerned Citizen

Thank you for your recent letter criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington You'll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we are creating the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care.

Your detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter.

Although Ahmed is sociopathic and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome this character flaw. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences.

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless you feel that this might offend him.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him. He has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he considers appropriate, but I'm sure that over time they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurka. Just remind them that it is all part of respecting his culture and his religious beliefs.

Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you inform us of the proper way to do our job. Take good care of Ahmed and good luck!

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Again you're going off on a tangent. I tend to hold those who pretend to have moral superiority, above those with fanatical fundamentalist qualities. I guess thats the point you're missing.

As is the problem with the world - its always the inability to see the others' stance, and always pointing the blame outward, regardless of what evidence points to one's own wrongdoings.

I'm done with this thread.

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Again you're going off on a tangent. I tend to hold those who pretend to have moral superiority, above those with fanatical fundamentalist qualities. I guess thats the point you're missing.

As is the problem with the world - its always the inability to see the others' stance, and always pointing the blame outward, regardless of what evidence points to one's own wrongdoings.

I'm done with this thread.

Not a tangent at all, and sorry you can't understand. I am not missing anything, at all. It is you who is missing the point, proof by calling it a tangent. You threw a lot of shit out, and it was addressed.

Not all wrongdoings are created equal....get it through your head...So when there are those who wish to elevate certain wrongdoings to an unmatched level, or use that particular wrongdoing to mask their own shortcomings and more hideous wrongdoings (exactly what is going on here), it will illicit a response.

funny, you talk about pointing the blame eoutward, yet don't appply the same standard the other way in this Koran issue..you are equally as guilty...

Funny, your persistence to "prove" this Koran thing happened, and your promotion of U.S. "abuse", would lead one to think that you do not tend to hold those who pretend to have moral superiority above those with fanatical fundamentalist qualities.

I

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