Qur’an abuse allegations date back years: Red Cross

GENEVA – The international Red Cross says it raised the issue of alleged Qur’an abuse at Guantanamo Bay with American officials on numerous occasions and as early as 2002.

Delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) didn’t witness any mistreatment of Islam‘s holy book, but heard reports from a number of detainees, said spokesman Simon Schorno on Friday.

At least 15 people died in violent protests in Afghanistan last week after a Newsweek article reported American interrogators at the U.S. military base flushed a Qur’an down a toilet. The magazine later retracted the story, saying it had doubts about the source.

ICRC members have visited the base on the eastern tip of Cuba since the detainees arrived in January 2002.

Schorno told the Chicago Tribune newspaper on Thursday that Red Cross delegates compiled the complaints they received from various detainees and reported them to Guantanamo commanders and Pentagon officials on several occasions.

The Red Cross spokesperson said he believes the U.S. has taken corrective measures and has heard no more complaints from detainees.

In January 2003, after the ICRC reports, the Pentagon released guidelines on how to handle the Qur’an. The three-page document advised handling the book like a “fragile piece of delicate art” that shouldn’t be placed near toilets, sinks, feet or dirty or wet areas.

The Pentagon didn’t specify what the ICRC complaints were, except to say they matched previously acknowledged complaints such as the Qur’an accidentally falling to the floor.

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CBC News, Canada
May 20, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday May 21, 2005.
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