Monday, May 16, 2005
Can A Koran Fit In The Toilet?
(UPDATE - Instead of reading this post you should read Susanhbu's article at Booman Tribune which is a far more comprehensive article than the one I wrote.)
A reader named Karin left a comment at Eschaton for a post guest-blogger Echidne wrote entitled "We Are Sorry, So Sorry..." about Newsweek's cowardly decision to retract, deny and say "maybe they erred in their reporting of the Koran desecrecation at Guantanamo Bay" which seems to have led to widespread rioting and deaths in Afghanistan and demonstrations elsewhere.
Karin was responding to this wingnut comment left by Jack:
"I'm reading the book written by the guy who was a translator at Gitmo, and he says they treated each detainee's Koran like it was sacred. Even when inspecting their rooms, they couldn't have a non-muslim even touch it, so these muslim soldiers had to come in just to pick it up and put it on the ledge so the inspectors could look under it."
"So, given that, the story about them flushing it seems a little implausible, but it's not too far fetched to consider maybe one MP got really pissed once and just said "fuck it.""
"You're a tool or an idiot, jack. Educate yourself."
The link that Karin left was to a Human Rights Watch report which included this paragraph:
"Detainees also complained about the interference with their ability to pray and the lack of respect given to their religion. For example, the British detainees state that they were never given prayer mats and initially were not provided Korans. They also complained that when the Korans were provided, the guards “would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it.""
But the report that the paragraph is drawn from might also be helpful in educating other commenters (the ones on our side, the ones that aren't wingnuts) from the same thread who assumed that the Newsweek story was bogus because they couldn't imagine how a Koran could possibly fit into a toilet.
This link is to a pdf entitled "Composite statement: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay" drawn from the testimony of Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed which was released on August 19, 2004, well before Newsweek attained the "scoop":
"They were never given prayer mats and initially they didn’t get a Koran. When the Korans were provided, they were kicked and thrown about by the guards and on occasion thrown in the buckets used for the toilets. This kept happening. When it happened it was always said to be an accident but it was a recurrent theme."
So you see.
The Korans weren't flushed. According to ex-detainees, Korans were "thrown in the buckets used for the toilets."
I guess Newsweek is worried that they might lose an embedment slot in the next "adventure."