Detainees, Not Soldiers, Flushed Koran

The latest on urine and the Koran:

Detainees, not soldiers, flushed Quran (CNN)

A U.S. military investigation into the mishandling of the Muslim holy book at the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists has determined that detainees — not U.S. soldiers — attempted to flush the Quran down the toilet there. However, the report did find four confirmed incidents in which U.S. personnel at the base mishandled the Quran, including guards kicking a detainee’s Quran; a guard’s urine “splashed” a detainee and his holy book after coming through an air vent; and guards got in a water balloon fight that resulted in two detainees’ Qurans getting wet.

I believe we’re approaching absurdity with these investigations. One does wonder how urine gets through an air vent and lands on someone’s book, although it’s not the kind of thing I spend a lot of time worrying about.

It’s an interesting cultural distinction, though, that urine on Christian symbols is “art” whereas urine on Muslim symbols is “torture.”

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. PTBoat says:

    urine on the bible would only be considered art in a certain context. If the bible were urinated on, in front of an evangelical, who’s been kept in captivity on foreign soil, without charges or the opportunity to see a lawyer, with torture … ahem, er, interrogation … techniques being used, then it would be considered torture. The book isn’t being mishandled by some artists in a SOHO loft.

    If you look further into the story, you might realize that many released prisoners share the same story. These released prisoners are NOT terrorists and were never convicted, nor charged, with any crime.

  2. Patrick MacAuley says:

    That is the reason that NEWSWEEK staffers couldn’t understand why Muslims would get so upset about a Koran being flushed down the toilet: many of these staffers genuinely believe that depravity like “Piss Christ”, a cruifix in a jar of urine, is AVANT GARDE ART.
    Whenever Christians complain to NEWSWEEK about this garbage they are sneered away. But muslims don’t just complain — they are willing to kill and be killed. At that point NEWSWEEK is willing to be considerate.

  3. TL Myers says:

    They’re prisoners of war, and are instructed to lie, steal, cheat, and do everything they can to make life hell for our troops.

    I do not believe what they say and consider their actions attempts to undermine the authorities in charge, and to discredit coalition forces.

    That being said, there are military reports that state that the Quran was kicked and mishandeled by guards. So what? I’ll bet if Nick Berg and the other unfortunate civilians had their drathers they would have rather had a Bible sawed through instead of their necks.

  4. Joseph E. Howard says:

    Organized religions are stange indeed, and no one is stranger than the other. Individually, they all believe they are the true and only religion. Some are close in their beliefs and some are not.

    So, to say, “… urine on Christian symbols is “art” whereas urine on Muslim symbols is
    “torture,” simply depends on what religious ideology one’s perspective is coming from.

    All religions have their radical members, but I believe that those of us who have been taught respect-of-others would not disrespect the ideologies of religions outside our individual beliefs.

    I stongly agree we’re approaching absurdity with these investigations, as well as absurdity in using the ideology of the “think-tank” New American Century (, which is, “to use America’s might and power to spread freedom across the globe.”

    The 21st Century needs to be built on a foundation of the biggest absurdity of all—PEACE.

  5. herb says:

    We should have shot those bastards in the beginning, then we would have to have this BS to put up with.