Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Holy crap. On several levels. Riverbend:
Today, one of the women who work at the ministry, Amal, objected when the troops brought forward a dog to sniff her bag. She was carrying a Quran inside of it and to even handle a Quran, a Muslim has to be 'clean' or under 'widhu'. 'Widhu' is the process of cleansing oneself for prayer or to read from the Quran. We simply wash the face, neck, arms up to the elbows and feet with clean water and say a few brief 'prayers'. Muslims carry around small Qurans for protection and we've been doing it more often since the war- it gives many people a sense of security. It doesn't not mean the person is a 'fundamentalist' or 'extremist'.

As soon as Amal protested about letting the dog sniff her bag because of the Quran inside, the soldier grabbed the Quran, threw it out of the bag and proceeded to check it. The lady was horrified and the dozens of employees who were waiting to be checked moved forward in a rage at having the Quran thrown to the ground. Amal was put in hand-cuffs and taken away and the raging mob was greeted with the butts of rifles.

The Iraqi Police arrived to try to intervene, and found the mob had increased in number because it had turned from a security check into a demonstration. One of the stations showed police officers tearing off their 'IP' badge- a black arm badge to identify them as Iraqi Police and shouting at the camera, 'We don't want the badge- we signed up to help the people, not see our Quran thrown to the ground'

Some journalists say that journalists' cameras were confiscated by the troops...

This is horrible. It made my blood boil just hearing about it- I can't imagine what the people who were witnessing it felt. You do not touch the Quran. Why is it so hard to understand that some things are sacred to people?!

How would the troops feel if Iraqis began flinging around Holy Bibles or Torahs and burning crosses?! They would be horrified and angry because you do not touch a person's faith. But that's where the difference is: the majority of Iraqis have a deep respect for other cultures and religions... and that's what civilization is. It's not mobile phones, computers, skyscrapers and McDonalds; It's having enough security in your own faith and culture to allow people the sanctity of theirs.
The incident is horrible, but that last paragraph is brilliant, Riverbend. Especially that last line... it shows precisely the difference between people like Riverbend and the Islamic theocrats that attacked the U.S., and says precisely what's wrong with the way that the U.S. is handling the occupation and the behavior of its own theocrats.

I really have nothing to add.

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