Skip to comments.Qur’an Furor: U.S. Leaders Offer Abject Apologies to ‘the Noble People of Afghanistan’
Posted on 02/22/2012 3:42:09 PM PST by robowombat
Quran Furor: U.S. Leaders Offer Abject Apologies to the Noble People of Afghanistan By Patrick Goodenough February 22, 2012
More than 2,000 angry Afghans, some firing guns in the air, protested on Tuesday over the improper disposal of Qurans and other Islamic material at the U.S. base in Bagram north of Kabul. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
(CNSNews.com) Despite a series of abject apologies from the U.S. military and the Obama administration, fresh and growing protests were reported in at least two Afghan cities on Wednesday morning over the apparently unintentional burning of copies of the Quran at a U.S. military base.
Security officials said anti-U.S. demonstrations were taking place near a military base in Kabul and in the eastern city of Jalalabad. The Afghan Interior Ministry reported that at least seven people have been killed in the clashes.
The U.S. Embassy suspended travel in the capital, citing violent protests at the U.S. base, Camp Phoenix, involving nearly 500 protestors burning tires and throwing rocks, as well as near the university in the citys west.
On Tuesday, after apologizing to the noble people of Afghanistan for the incident, International Security Assistance Force commander Gen. John Allen ordered all 130,000 coalition troops in the country to complete training in the proper handling of religious materials within the next fortnight.
The training, which must be completed by March 3, will include the identification of religious materials, their significance, correct handling and storage, the NATO-led ISAF said in a statement.
Im going to take steps inside these headquarters to issue an order today on how we will handle religious materials for the faith of Islam, henceforth, by ISAF, so that something like this just cannot happen again, Allen said in an interview on NATOs television channel earlier in the day.
The directive followed the discovery Monday night that religious materials including copies of the Quran had been taken, with garbage, from a military detention center to a nearby incineration facility at the U.S. base in Bagram, some 40 miles north of Kabul.
Afghan government officials were quoted as saying Afghans workers had noticed the material and stopped the burning, but not before some of the books had been damaged.
Military officials told the Associated Press that Qurans had been removed from a library at the detention center because they were evidently being used by Afghan detainees to disseminate extremist messages.
As thousands of Afghans angered by news of the incident protested at Bagram, the military and administration offered several public apologies:
--In a statement published on the ISAF and U.S. military Web sites, sent to Afghan television networks and posted on YouTube, Allen offered his sincere apologies for any offense this may have caused, to the president of Afghanistan, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and most importantly, to the noble people of Afghanistan.
--Defense Secretary Leon Panetta added his apologies for the deeply unfortunate incident.
--White House press secretary Jay Carney said he echoed Allens and Panettas apologies. This was a deeply unfortunate incident that does not reflect the great respect our military has for the religious practices of the Afghan people, he said.
--State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the incident horrific, telling a press briefing that Allen and Panetta had apologized on behalf of the United States to the Afghan people and to people around the world who were offended by this conduct, which we all disapprove of.
A reporter questioned Nulands use of the word horrific, noting it was the same term she used last week to describe deadly bombings in Syria. (Nuland also used the word horrific to describe suicide bombings by Nigerian Islamists last month that killed at least 150 people.)
The desecration of religious articles is not in keeping with the standards of American tolerance, human rights practices, and freedom of religion, she replied.
The apologies appear designed to defuse a potentially deadly situation. Exaggerated or unfounded rumors of Quran desecration in the past have resulted in violence and loss of life in Afghanistan.
Last March, the controversial pastor of a small Florida church burned a copy of the Quran, an incident strongly deplored by President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others.
Twelve days later, following Friday prayers at a prominent mosque in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif and reported claims by imams that hundreds of copies of the Quran had been burned in the U.S., protestors stormed a lightly-guarded U.N. compound in an attack that left seven foreign U.N. workers and four Afghan civilians dead.
The violence continued on April 2 and 3, killing at least 12 people in Kandahar, including two Afghan police officers.
In 2005, at least 15 Afghans were killed during a week of rioting after Newsweek reported that a copy of the Quran was thrown into a toilet at the U.S. militarys Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The Pentagon said investigations found no evidence to support the claim, which the magazine retracted.
Islam scholar and activist Robert Spencer said Tuesday that while Allen clearly should do what he needs to do to protect American lives, his statement would make matters worse in the long run.
General Allen clearly has now idea how weak and pusillanimous his repeated apologies in this video will make him appear to many, if not most, of the noble people of Afghanistan, Spencer wrote on his Jihad Watch site. He should know enough about Islamic culture to know that it respects strength and sees apologizing and attempts at conciliation as weakness, only to be despised.
The Taliban was quick to respond to the Bagram incident, issuing a statement saying the perverted action had aroused the sensitivities of one billion Muslims worldwide including the Afghans.
It also accused the Karzai government of endorsing such incidents and said unspecified human rights bodies should prosecute the criminals who commit such historical offenses.
President Hamid Karzais office in fact condemned the incident, which it said had degraded the holiest values of Islam.
Meanwhile top U.N. official Jan Kubis met with the head of the countrys Ulema Council, a body of Islamic scholars, to say that he shared the concerns of the people of Afghanistan regarding this sad mistake that hurts the religious feelings of the people, the U.N. mission In Kabul said in a statement.
It said Kubis had expressed his full confidence that ISAF will rapidly conclude the investigation, take appropriate follow-up action as soon as possible and move quickly to hold people behind this incident accountable.
Muslim scholars teach that the Quran, in the original Arabic, is the actual divine revelation given by Allah to Mohammed over a 23-year period and is therefore sacred in itself.
A devout Muslim will never keep a copy at ground level. According to rulings on Ask the Imam, a Web site featuring religious experts answering thousands of questions submitted by Muslims around the world, a Muslim who has not undergone ritual washing may not handle a Quran, and a menstruating woman may not touch one, or even recite its words without touching it.
Even words from the Quran are deemed to be holy. The national flag of Saudi Arabia, which features the Arabic script for the shahada the Quranic declaration, There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger may never be flown at half-staff.
For the same reason, the inclusion of the Saudi flag in a design on a soccer ball promoting the soccer World Cup in 2010 prompted calls for the balls to be banned.
Apologizing to Moslems is like apologizing to a... pig.
The “proper” disposal of the koran is to take a crap on it, urinate on it, shoot it, THEN burn it and bury it.
” the Noble People of Afghanistan “
Gee - all *three* of ‘em?? At the same time??
Who is the idiot who told the muslims that korans were burned? It is ok to burn trhe korans, just keep your mouth shut. If I had a copy of the koran printed on one ply paper I would use it in the bathroom.
Personally, I think this is an American plot. The Afghans have managed to kill I don’t know how many of their own over this stupid story. Meanwhile, we have not lost one of our own.
That may be too many. “Noble” people don’t riot over the burning of pieces of paper.
Groveling to these savages is sickening.
Do NOT apologize for me. I reject the American apology.
Most of these barbarians can’t read, so how do they know these are “holy books” at all and not, say, Arabic versions of Newsweek?
This whole thing is all too typical of our PC interaction with Islam. I’d favor getting all our people out of that mudhole and nuking it from orbit.
How I wish Americans would quit apologizing to this bunch. It’s like parents who finally enforce some rules, the kids explode, and the parents apologize.
If these muslims are using their “holy” book to communicate hateful messages, burn the books, and tell them in no uncertain terms that this will be done every time.
These savages only continue to throw fits of rage because they get the kid glove treatment every time they do.
The contractor in charge of the trash burn recognized the Korans amid other trash and stopped the burn. One of the Afghan nationals hired as char force picked up a singed Koran and smuggled it out and thus the story began to spread.
I refuse to have my leaders apologize to people who kill Americans!!!
These leaders are traitors to the United States!
This clearly indicates the stupidity of the officers in charge to allow natives to witness this destruction. Un-freaking-believable!
It sounds like we’ve got idiots like Karpinski and Lyndee Englund that shit in the faces of a local population just to piss them off.
These military idiots will prolong the war and result in many more American deaths just because they were stupid.
It would have been much better to just hang the Koran in the outhouse and use it as a substitute for an old Sears Roebuck catalog!
The US Army and US Government are doing more than any other organization on Earth to promote adherence to Muslim sensibilities and Sharia Law.
They are doing a far more thorough job than even Osama bin Laden.
The protesters should be burned using korans as fuel.