WASHINGTON — The Pentagon late Friday confirmed five incidents of Koran desecration at the prison for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrapping up a high-priority investigation. The findings concluded that one soldier deliberately kicked the Muslim holy book, other guards hit it with water balloons, and a soldier's urine splashed on a prisoner and his Koran. Details of the incidents are contained in the final report of the inquiry headed by Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of the detention center for terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The report established that two other cases of desecration had occurred. In one, a two-word obscenity was written in English inside a prisoner's Koran.
In the other, an interrogator deliberately stepped on the book. That interrogator was later fired for "a pattern of unacceptable behavior. . ." In Washington, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, issued a statement saying, "President Bush must address the climate of abuse that seems to prevail at U.S. detention centers worldwide." Awad said it was not enough to merely issue reports outlining abuse or to punish low-level personnel. "Those at the top must be held responsible for the actions of the men and women they command," he said. (MORE)