EX-GITMO INMATES: QURAN WAS DESECRATED - TOP
Asif Shahzad, Associated Press, 6/28/05
LAHORE, Pakistan - Pakistanis freed from Guantanamo Bay claimed they
saw American interrogators throw, tear and stand on copies of Islam's
holy book, and one former detainee said naked women sat on prisoners'
chests during questioning.
The Pentagon denied the accusations and said al-Qaida training manuals
instruct prisoners to make such false charges.
The men acknowledged that they were aware of the international furor
caused by previous reports about Quran desecrations. Such reports
triggered protests across the Islamic world and deadly riots in
Afghanistan last month.
Seventeen Pakistanis were freed Monday from a jail in this eastern
city, where they had been held since their release nine months ago
from the U.S. prison for terror in Cuba. A Pakistani official said
each had been "declared innocent by America" and cleared of
involvement in terrorism by Pakistani intelligence.
The claims of the men, who spoke to reporters after joyful family
reunions outside the jail in Lahore, could not be confirmed
independently. The Associated Press briefly interviewed six of the men
separately, sometimes interrupted by Pakistani officials who appeared
eager to keep the men from making the allegations.
All six said they were arrested in Afghanistan after going there to
fight the U.S.-led coalition that ousted the hard-line Taliban regime
in late 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.
"During interrogation, whenever I would make a reference to the Quran
they would hit me in the face with a copy. They would tear it into
pieces. They would tell me that Quran teaches us terrorism," said
Salahuddin Ayubi, a 31-year-old from Rajanpur in eastern Pakistan.
"They would throw the Quran against the roof, which would tear it into
pieces and they would say 'This is the real source of terrorism,"'
Ayubi said. "This happened several times in my interrogation." (MORE)
QURAN DESECRATION IS NOTHING NEW
HESHAM A. HASSABALLA, Religion News Service, 6/27/05
Although many Americans have recently come to learn about it for the
first time, the desecration of the Quran is nothing new. Islam's
sacred text has been desecrated for many years now, although not a
single printed page of paper and ink was harmed in the process.
The Sept. 11 hijackers desecrated the Quran by their act of mass
murder in New York City and Washington, D.C. In fact, all those who
attack and kill civilians in the name of Islam -- some of the
insurgents in Iraq, suicide bombers attacking a Shiite mosque in
Pakistan, the bombers in Bali, Indonesia -- all of them, by their
actions, viciously desecrate the Quran. A Muslim merchant who cheats
his customers -- despite always taking care to keep the book clean --
desecrates the Quran.
Yet, how can this be?
While technically a book of paper and ink, the Quran is a life-force,
breathing life into the believer and awakening him or her from a deep
spiritual slumber. Moreover, the Quran is brought to life by the
believer who follows its commands. The best example of this is the
Prophet Muhammad, who was described by his wife as a "walking Quran."
When someone wilfully desecrates the Quran, he or she manifests a
deep-seated disdain for the sacred text. Such an act says, "The Quran
is so meaningless to me that I will burn its pages or urinate on its
printed words." But wilful and wanton betrayal of the principles of
the Quran in one's actions effectively does the very same thing.
The Quran holds all life, but most especially human life, with the
utmost of sanctity. The Quran says: "Nor take life -- which God has
made sacred -- except for just cause ..." It also says, "Take not
life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law.
Thus doth he command you, that ye may learn wisdom." The verses are
unequivocal, without condition or qualification. Further emphasizing
this sanctity, suicide is strictly prohibited: "... do not kill
yourselves, for verily God has been most merciful unto you. . ."
This in no ways belittles the incidents of Quran desecration that
occurred at Guantanamo Bay, and I believe those involved should be
punished by authorities. Yet, even though I share the anger of Muslims
across the world over these incidents, I do not believe such anger
excused the senseless loss of life that occurred in its wake. Such
violence and death, I believe, is a far worse desecration of the Quran
than what occurred at Guantanamo Bay, without excusing in the least
what occurred there.
Still, the incidents of Quran desecration did have some positive
outcomes. The American public has gotten an opportunity to learn more
about the Quran and how important the sacred text is to Muslims the
world over. In fact, according to the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, almost 12,000 people have requested a free copy of the
Quran since May 17. This can only be a good thing. Equally as
important, however, the incidents of Quran desecration have caused me
to reflect on the true meaning of the Quran and a deeper understanding
of what it means to desecrate any sacred text. And I will be all the
better because of it.
(Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and columnist for
Beliefnet. His forthcoming book, the "Beliefnet Guide to Islam," will
be published by Doubleday in 2006. You can read his blog at:
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