Monday, May 23, 2005

Where Is the Uproar That Should Stop Torture

Where Is the Uproar That Should Stop Torture?� By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown : "Where Is the Uproar That Should Stop Torture?

By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

The Independent, Arab News, May 23, 2005

LONDON, 23 May 2005 — A brief news item appeared in Newsweek magazine claiming that a military investigation had confirmed that the Qur’an had been defiled in Guantanamo Bay. Prior to publication, the journalist, John Barry, showed his copy to senior Pentagon officials who got some parts of the report edited out (this is the free press in the US), but were untroubled by the bit about the Qur’anic desecration. Imran Khan, the Pakistani ex-cricket hero-turned-politician, denounced this abomination. Riots flared up in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, leaving about 20 people dead.

Suddenly awake, the US authorities then forced Newsweek to retract the story because the source was shaky — an unforgivable transgression in American journalism, much worse, apparently, than partisan reporting or the acquiescence of much of the US media in neocon power. In fact there is documentation by independent sources of this use of Qur’anic despoliation during interrogations by Americans, but that was not the point. Americans are enraged that the magazine was “unpatriotic” and “irresponsible”; Muslims worldwide are furious that copies of their most precious book were thrown into toilets.

In this world, which I no longer comprehend, great emotions rise on one side because a reputable magazine did not pay due attention to ensure that its sources were impeccable, and on the other because the Qur’an was reported to have been debased. Of course, sacrilege of the Qur’an is hurtful to the many faithful, including myself. But is it not utterly depressing that so many died, that Muslims killed Muslims because they could not control their grief? And that both sides in this latest flare-up appear to care so little about what is being done to human beings across the world in the new wars of this century?"