Pentagon Probes Detainee Reports Of Koran Dumping

By John Mintz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 14, 2005

Some Muslims detained at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have complained that U.S. soldiers dumped their Korans into the toilet. After riots this week in Afghanistan that were sparked by reports of the allegations, Pentagon officials said they are investigating.

But top U.S. military officials said they have not confirmed any such desecrations of the Islamic holy book at Guantanamo Bay. Defiling the Koran or otherwise showing disrespect for the detainees' Muslim faith is strictly against U.S. policy at the prison, military officials said.

Earlier this year, lawyers representing Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo said their clients told them that military police threw at least one Koran into a toilet. A released Afghan named Ehsannullah told The Washington Post in 2003 that U.S. soldiers taunted him by doing the same thing. Three Britons released last year also said Korans were put into toilets by U.S. guards.

Riots began in Afghanistan and Pakistan this week in part because of a Newsweek report that military investigators had confirmed allegations by FBI agents on detainee abuse, including an incident in which at least one Koran was thrown into a toilet. But military sources said yesterday that FBI agents made no such allegation and that the military did not look into Koran desecration.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said Thursday that while an investigation found one case in which a detainee clogged a toilet with pages ripped from the Koran, as well as times when detainees were irritated when guards touched Korans, no cases of Americans putting a Koran in a toilet had been found so far.

Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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