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Published in the 16-30 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

REJOINDERS

Quran down the toilet: insult beyond belief

The Milli Gazette Online 

"Down the toilet is where Islam belongs" is the vulgar message forcefully conveyed to the Muslims by the offensive act of flushing into the pit-hole a copy of the Quran. When the report of this incident first surfaced Muslims were aghast, stunned beyond belief, that such a thing could happen in the bastion of western civilization at the beginning of the 21st century. 

During their long and glorious history Muslims have experienced innumerable indignities, with insults to their faith galore, but humiliation of this magnitude, with Quran thrown into the toilet, stands in a class by itself. No Muslim would have imagined such a barbaric act of sacrilege, anywhere, least of all a society that claims itself the morally high and worthy of universal emulation.
Muslims have come to believe that desecration of the Quran not only meant torment to the detainees, many of whom are nave, innocent and young, and picked up randomly on mere suspicion, but it was designed to degrade the spiritual foundation of Islam and to emotionally bankrupt its followers. It is indeed a form of mental torture that many Muslims find unbearable. 

The world is gradually starting understanding the mind-set of the people who run the detention facilities. Almost everyone is struck by their obsession with sexual perversion, graphically dramatized by the pictures taken at Abu Ghraib, and scatological matters, centering on human excreta and toilet, of which there are so many, with most shocking ones involve the defilement of the Quran with feces. In the Muslim mind this is the ultimate insult. 

Reporters around the world have noted with disgust the increasing evidence on "the sexual humiliation of Muslim prisoners, their shackling to seats in which they defecate and urinate, the use of pornography to make Muslim prisoners feel impure" and the active role of "female interrogators" who, teasingly and titillatingly, touch their genitalia and that of their victims. 

Physical beatings and the use of dogs to frighten and bite prisoners is so routine that eye witness accounts are beginning to be written with decreasing frequency. One recent exception is the story of an innocent Afghan taxi driver Dilawar in Bagram, reported by Tim Golden in the New York Times, who was beaten to a pulp and spent the final days before his death being chained to the ceiling. He died begging for water, which was denied to him but sprayed on his face. 

Responding to ABC News about questions on sadomasochism and toilet related means as aspects of torture Colonel Patrick Lang, formerly of the Defense Intelligence Agency who specialised on the Middle East, wondered whether this was a "scene from Dante's Inferno" and rhetorically asked "what level of hell are we on to?" 

Reference to feces and sex is not only confined to the military's "culture of filth" but is widespread in the mainstream society. Most people who watch television and have conversation with others are familiar with at least two four letter words used in the vernacular culture. When Newsweek retracted the Quran story the New York Post jumped to the headline: "Holy Shiite Newsweek Retracts its Deadly Toilet Tale." No one is left wondering what that headline meant. Readers, of course, grasped right away that Muslims had been equated with feces. 

Not to be outdone even a church got in the act. The Danieltown Baptist Church in Rutherford County, North Carolina, put up a sign on its billboard proclaiming: "Koran Needs to be Flushed." The pastor, when interviewed, expressed pride in the sign by saying that it is "only to affirm and exalt the Bible and its teachings."

Around the world Muslims believe that George W. Bush's "crusade" against terrorism is a really a "crusade" against Islam. It is, for all practical purposes, a continuation of the war that began in 1098 A.D. with Pope Urban II's clarion call to "slay the infidels" and take back the Holy Land. Various European powers, subsequently, while asserting secularism waged war on Muslim lands that led to their conquest, subjugation and colonisation. That mantle of military action has now been passed on to (or rather snatched by) Washington on behalf of the Christendom. 

A joke going around in some circles has the punch line to the effect that George W. Bush has finally put the Muslims where they belong right in the toilet. And Ariel Sharon will flush them down into the cesspool. No one should be confused how Muslims are seen by the powers that control the Middle East. 

"Make no mistake about it," is what one person said recently at a gathering, "the clash of civilisations is alive and well. It is in full swing. Muslims are the direct victims." When Quran is so abominably desecrated, in the worst possible manner imaginable, it is hard to believe anything else. 

Ghulam M. Haniff
haniff@stcloudstate.edu

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