Guantanamo Guards Embraced Islam: Algerian MP
U.S. Army photo shows a librarian delivering books to a detention
block at Guantanamo
By Abdul Raheem Ali, IOL Staff
CAIRO, September 25 (IslamOnline.net) - A prominent Algerian lawmaker
said a number of Americans guarding the 660 alleged Al-Qaeda and
Taliban detainees being held by the United States in Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, have embraced Islam.
Hassan Aribi, who also chairs his country's committee on the
Guantanamo issue, mediated with Pentagon officials the release of 18
detainees from the heavily-guarded detention camp.
He said the negotiations, made in Washington before the beginning of
the Iraq war, resulted in the release of eight Algerians and ten
other detainees, from several nationalities.
"They told me that the American guards were very sympathetic with
them to the extent of buying the detainees' needs of their pocket
money," the Algerian lawmaker told a seminar in Cairo.
He asserted that the freed detainees confirmed to him that some of
their American guards have converted to Islam as a result of daily
interaction with Muslim prisoners for the past two years.
The Algerian legislator fell short of saying how many of the American
guards had accepted Islam.
Aribi appealed to Arab governments to immediately act for the release
of their citizens, held without charges in Guantanamo.
He asserted that any endeavor by Arab governments in this respect
would yield positive fruits, lamenting the absence of any such
He pledged that his committee would pursue efforts for the release of
other detainees, no matter what it takes.
The Algerian lawmaker asserted that 90 percent of those held in
Guantanamo had no relation whatsoever with Al-Qeada or Taliban.
"They were working with humanitarian relief agencies and were only
arrested as part of an American campaign against possible suspects,"
On December 22, the Los Angeles Times reported that Washington was
holding dozens of prisoners at Guantanamo with no meaningful
connection to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
They were sent to the maximum-security facility over the objections
of intelligence officers in Afghanistan who had recommended their
release, it quoted military sources with direct knowledge of the
matter as saying.
At least 59 detainees, nearly 10% of the prison population at the
U.S. Navy base were deemed to be of no intelligence value after
repeated interrogations in Afghanistan, it said.
On August 18, the same paper reported that no leader of Al-Qaeda has
been found among the detainees in Guantanamo.
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