Skip to comments.Muslim cleric from Russia held at Guantanamo reports Qur'an desecration
Posted on 06/28/2005 10:22:34 PM PDT by familyop
MOSCOW (AP) - A Muslim cleric formerly held at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba said Tuesday U.S. guards there regularly desecrated the Qur'an by putting it into a toilet, although he added he never witnessed it himself.
Airat Vakhitov, who described himself as a former imam of a mosque in Tatarstan, a majority Muslim republic in southern Russia, is one of seven men released from Guantanamo in 2004 and returned to Russia. He and the six others were held in Russia for three months, then released a year ago.
Vakhitov said at a news conference organized by the state RIA-Novosti news agency guards in Cuba threw the Qur'an in the toilet. But he later told The Associated Press he did not witness the actions.
"A Palestinian named Mahir, who was in a neighbouring cell, had seen it and told me about that," Vakhitov said. "Many other people in Guantanamo also told me about that."
A spokesman at U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which oversees the prison, declined to comment on the specifics of the allegations. But he said such claims were found to be untrue in an investigation released last month by Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of the joint task force at Guantanamo Bay.
That report showed "no Qur'ans are flushed down the toilet at Guantanamo," spokesman Lt. Col. Jim Marshall said. He said many al-Qaida members use allegations like these to help increase recruiting.
A statement from Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico did not specifically address Vakhitov's allegations, but said "it is important to note that al-Qaida training manuals emphasize the tactic of making false abuse allegations."
Vakhitov said he was held both by forces from Russia and its breakaway region of Chechnya on suspicion of spying. He said he later moved to Tajikistan, where he claimed to have been kidnapped by members of the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, affiliated with al-Qaida, and then taken to Afghanistan, where he was held by the Taliban and then sold to U.S. forces.
Vakhitov said when he was held by U.S. forces at Kandahar, Afghanistan, he personally saw Qur'ans desecrated.
"In Kandahar, they tore up copies of the Qur'an and even put it in a bucket of feces," he said.
In May, Newsweek magazine published - and later retracted - a story that claimed interrogators at Guantanamo flushed the Muslim holy book down a toilet.
The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush blamed the report for deadly demonstrations in Afghanistan and protests throughout the Middle East. The Pentagon later disclosed five instances in which U.S. guards mishandled the Qur'an.
A good project for our kids though.
Call a news conference, and say you're going to burn a Bible. Watch what doesn't happen.
Call a news conference, and say you're burning a koran. Watch the media show up to record the police arresting you on some vague charges of disturbing-the-ragheads.
But can still enjoy in private or with close friends.
This isn't news! I guess if a muslim says it, it must be true now, or could it be, it's just the popular thing to say now because you will get your name in the paper?
John Kerry regularly passes government secrets to the Ayatollah in Iran, and other enemies of the USA. I never seen it, but he regularly does it.
Good photoshop job!
Maybe somebody should inform this cleric that in the Western world, we have ... indoor plumbing.
They keep that bucket of feces right next to the flush toilet. Flush toilets are strictly for drinking out of and koran flushing at Gitmo.
Sheesh. They aren't even good lies, but that doesn't stop the media from printing it.
Old News Mr. Terrorist. Haven't you heard we don't care whether the quran was desecrated. You better call home and tell momma because you won't get any sympathy here.