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« U.S. helicopters need safety cushions or ejection seats | Main | Guantanamo detainee’s ‘serious’ complaint: ‘The guard took Quran (Koran) from me and gave it back’ »

May 28, 2005


jj mollo

Do the Muslim detainees use gloves to handle the Koran? If so, I can't fault the guards for doing so. We do not deny people the practice of their religion in prison if we can reasonably do so. I doubt we support animal sacrifices or drug-induced religious frenzies, but I think it's good to encourage the benevolent or harmless aspects of religious practice.

Frank Warner

But JJ, the Islamists use the Quran to inspire murder. So then we give them the Quran?

jj mollo

Well, I would recommend against giving them flight training materials or topographic maps of Three-Mile Island. These detainees are already religiously dangerous. No one can predict what actions, other than detention, will make them more or less dangerous. If a schizophrenic were triggered into violent rages every time he saw you pulling petals from a posey, would you gratuitously do that very thing?

If you are going to make these people suffer, you'd better have a good reason for it. We don't have to cater to their whims, but we should be very reluctant to resort to torture. I don't think we should adjust our procedures to unreasonable or unusual demands that cause us excessive effort, but I do think we can pay attention to some details of a religious tradition of 1300 years and a billion people.

We don't need to take it seriously. They can't tell us what to think, but when we have them in a prison, at our mercy, it doesn't hurt to show them common courtesy. It's good for us as much as them.

Frank Warner

JJ said: "If a schizophrenic were triggered into violent rages every time he saw you pulling petals from a posey, would you gratuitously do that very thing?"

And that's my point. These Islamists took a otherwise calming book and found in it reasons for mass murder. We don't need to reinforce this deadly world view by providing them with the book they leaned on to subjugate Afghanistan and destroy the World Trade Center.

Simply reading a Quran could rekindle their al Qaida (anti-Islam) lessons in murder and provoke these prisoners to kill their guards or other visitors. It makes no sense at all to make these readings easy.

Christian or Jewish mass-murder suspects would not be given Bibles anywhere on Earth if a basis for their alleged offenses was an insane claim the Bible gave them permission to kill non-Christian or non-Jewish innocents.

But we buy the Qurans. We give Quran-inspired murderers Qurans. And unless we put on clean gloves, we don't dare to touch the Qurans that we paid for.

No, no, no. I'm sure al Qaida murderers remember a few key lines from the Quran. It's more than enough courtesy to let them recite those from memory.


How many copies of the Holy Bible were desecrated by the Qu'ran loving Muslims who took down four jets on 9-11?

Where is the Muslim protest when Muslim human bombers destroy mosques where copies of the Qu'ran exist?


And how many copies of the holy Bible got destroyed when the World Trade Center towers went down? Those Muslims had no respect for anyone or anything in those buildings or on those flights.

jj mollo

The trouble with guerrilla warfare is that the enemy will continously tempt you to strike back at a broader group than the enemy actually represents. Every time you accommodate them, you broaden their base. Don't underestimate them. They will use every trick they can to make you draw your sword.

Your response must always be moderate and wise. The enemy is not Islam or Muslims. It is a particular evil strain of Wahabi Islamism. No matter what cruelty has been done to us in the name of Islam, we cannot strike off the ear of every Arab we hold captive. We need to focus on where the true evil is coming from.

In Iraq we are winning because the people are willing to tolerate our mistakes, which are many, because they understand that we are doing our best, and because we are giving them something precious. We are also trying to keep them from attacking each other -- for exactly the same reasons that we try to moderate our own responses. The Rule of Law is focused violence, with the emphasis on focus. The police did not gain much by beating Rodney King. We will not gain much from gratuitous cruelty to our prisoners.

jj mollo

If these prisoners actually read the book, it may tell them something different than they learned from the imams. If not, it can't make them worse than they already are.

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