Confirmation of Koran Desecration, Abuse & Torture of Muslim Prisoners

On a Koran desecration report in Newsweek, when demonstrations erupted in Afghanistan and started to spread in other Muslim countries and when even the officials of Muslim countries, like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and others, which have friendly relations with USA, started expressing their anger and displeasure with the US government, General Myers of US military chose to express that no such incident occurred at all at Guantanamo. Muslims were skeptic about this announcement. Then came denials from the Newsweek. Still Muslims remained doubtful about the real truth behind these denials. US Secretary of State and other officials issued statements about the sanctity of the Koran. But the Muslims are looking on all these as US attempts to whitewash the entire issue. As a result they have announced holding of peaceful demonstrations all over the world on May 26. Had the US Military found out the real culprits and given them exemplary punishments publicly, it would have saved US image. and might have brought en end to Muslim anger and the global demonstrations.

Why Muslims have dismissed all these denial reports? It may be because that confirmation reports of Koran desecration have also appeared earlier in other prestigious US newspapers like The New York Times as well. Neil A. Lewis and Eric Schmitt have published a report earlier on May 5, 2005 in the said newspaper confirming the fact that Koran was desecrated at Guantanamo. They have published a photograph of a recently released detainee Mr. Nasser Nijer Naser al-Mutairi, who is now in Kuwait. After interviewing him, they have reported that there were three major hunger strikes as a protest against guards handling of copies of the Koran, which had been tossed into a pile and stepped on it. The Times also got the accounts of hunger strikes confirmed later by interviewing a former interrogator at Guantanamo

They have also reported that a senior officer also delivered an apology over the camp’s loudspeaker system and that apology was also translated for the detainees in the camp. But the question arises that if three hunger strikes by detainees is a confirmed fact, were the apologies delivered each time? If yes, then there is no weight in such apologies. You continue to desecrate Koran repeatedly and then try to whitewash the harm done by it, just by delivering an apology each time. It shows there was no sincerity in these apologies. If the apology would have been sincere, Koran would not have been desecrated repeatedly. This compelled detainees to hold hunger strikes again and again. And this fact of repeated hunger strikes is confirmed by a former interrogator as well.

In addition to Koran desecration and the ridicule of Muslim prisoners’ religion, a lot of other kinds of prisoner abuse and torture has also taken place on a very large scale in US prisons. Who is responsible for all this state of affairs? American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has held not only the top Generals but also the US Defense Minister, Donald Rumsfeld, responsible for the atrocities on the prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo and has filed a case against him and the top Generals. One of them, former Brigadier-General Karpinsky, has already been demoted by President Bush to the rank of Colonel, but it was more due to her shop-lifting wrongdoings rather than her negligence of duty regarding prisoner abuse.

In a New York Times Book Review of a book by Mark Danner on "Terror And Torture", the reviewer has held Bush himself responsible for all these incidents of torture, prison abuse and the ridicule of prisoners’ religion: Islam. President Bush declared that Al-Qaida prisoners will not be treated under Geneva Conventions. He declared them just "unlawful combatants." They would be treated humanely but that treatment would be subject to "military necessity" This "military necessity” was an open license for the military interrogators to unleash all kinds of cruelty and torture on the prisoners who were not protected by Geneva Conventions under President Bush’s orders. In the name of intelligence, the prisoners were tortured so cruelly that it resulted in 23 deaths under US custody. The military has investigated only 5 such deaths and confirmed that these deaths occurred due to extreme unbearable torture.

A group of health professionals, Physicians for Human Rights have released a report contesting military claims that these abuses were aberrations for which soldiers have been already disciplined. Their report says that the United States has been engaged in systematic psychological torture of Guantanamo detainees since at least 2002. It led to devastating health consequences for individuals subjected to them.

The details of all these abuses and torture are available not only in a 600-page book by Mark Danner, but also in several other books, reports and newspaper accounts. ACLU on their Web site has already made over 30,000 such authentic documents from US government sources available. They have sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act that legally the government is not allowed to keep them secret from the public eye. It has demanded release of all those documents, tapes and videos, which the US government is still trying to keep secret.

While such an enormous data and evidence is openly available, the Bush Administration has reported to the United Nations that it is not violating any UN conventions against torture.

A report in the New York Times says that F.B.I agents wrote some secret memos. They had seen not only the scenes of detainees being tortured by stripping and shackling them low to the floor for many hours, but they had also seen that female interrogators were forcibly squeezing male prisoners’ genitals at Guantanamo. It is to be noted that such behavior of females towards males is especially repugnant for Muslims. Even a non-pious Muslim will abhor such lewd acts. Such acts were purposely performed against their most cherished religion. High moral values and teachings of Islam in such matters were floundered under the feet of US soldiers.

In this regard, Arthur Sullivan has rightly pointed out in his book review,

Also notable in Abu Ghraib was the despicable use of religion to humiliate.."The use of hooding was ubiquitous; the same goes for forced nudity, sexual humiliation and brutal beatings; there are examples of rape and electric shocks. Many of the abuses seem specifically tailored to humiliate Arabs and Muslims, where horror at being exposed in public is a deep cultural artifact."

To elucidate his viewpoint further, he provides the evidence of one Muslim inmate who was allegedly forced to eat pork, had liquor forced down his throat and to and told to thank Jesus that he was alive. He recounted in broken English:

”They stripped me naked, they asked me, ‘Do you pray to Allah?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ They said ‘F — – you’ and ‘F – – – him.’ ” Later, this inmate recounts: ”Someone else asked me, ‘Do you believe in anything?’ I said to him, ‘I believe in Allah.’ So he said, ‘But I believe in torture and I will torture you.’