Saturday, May 14, 2005

Protests in Afghanistan

Protests over the story that broke a few days ago over U.S. interrogators flushing pages of the Qur'an down the toilet are growing violent, with eight people believed dead. One of the most disgusting aspects of the stories of prisoner abuse in Guantanamo and Abu Graib, are the reports interrogators deliberately attempting to humiliate prisoners because of their religion e.g. forcing them to eat pork or drink alcohol, or smearing red ink on them and telling them it is menstrual blood, leaving prisoners unable to say their prayers until they have washed.

The last paragraph of the article says: Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington, said a "serious investigation" of the Guantanamo allegations was needed because the incident "strengthens the voice" of extremists who say the United States is "not serious in promoting freedom and democracy in the Muslim world."

Investigation? An investigation that will, in several months, result in a report that few will read isn't going to be adequate. We need the President to come out with an apology, assurance of punishment for those responsible, and a strong statement that the U.S., with its tradition of religious freedom does not approve of disrespect to anyone's religious scriptures.

Now, it may very well be true that these protests are being coordinated by extremist groups, but a Muslim doesn't have to be an extremist to be revolted by this. How would you expect the adherents of any religion to react to the desecration of their scriptures? I thought we were supposed to be winning hearts and minds over there, and promoting democracy.

No comments: