January 12th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Quran desecration claims spur protests

KABUL, Afghanistan –Allegations that NATO-led soldiers desecrated a Quran in a weekend operation against the Taliban spurred an angry protest Tuesday in southwest Afghanistan, authorities said.

The protests, which turned violent, occurred in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, according to a statement by NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

During the protests, an insurgent sniper shot an Afghan official, the statement said, and ISAF service members then shot and killed the sniper. Armed protesters also attacked a National Security Department office and demanded the release of prisoners, Helmand province spokesman Dawood Ahmadi told CNN. They also torched a school, he said.

ISAF denied that its troops had any part in destroying a Quran. "While denying these allegations, we take them very seriously and support a combined investigation with local Afghan authorities," said Major Gen. Michael Regner, deputy chief of staff for operations for ISAF Joint Command.

"ISAF is an international force that includes Muslim soldiers, and we deplore such an action under any circumstances."

In addition to the allegation of desecrating a Quran, Ahmadi said, other reports accuse security force soldiers of violating a woman, and yet others say the soldiers destroyed a mosque. The governor has launched an investigation, he said.

The desecration allegation stems from an operation against the Taliban that ISAF conducted Sunday, the security force's statement said.

"Afghan forces conducted the operation, supported by coalition forces. No shots were fired, no property was damaged and no one was detained," the statement said.

The demonstration was among several incidents of violence in Afghanistan reported by officials.

Four policemen were killed in the Gereshk district of Helmand province Monday night by guests they invited into their post, Ahmadi said. Their weapons also were stolen, Ahmadi said. Delaram district Mayor Abdullah Jan was killed Monday afternoon after he earlier survived two attempts on his life, Nimroz province Police Chief Abdul Jabbar said. The assailant is unknown, police said.  And a 25-year-old police officer was killed Monday night when a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-laden vest detonated the bomb while trying to enter Uruzgan province police headquarters, authorities said.

–Journalist Mati Matiullah contributed to this report.

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soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Filipe

    They need to get over it !!!! What hysterical nonsense to get excited and commit violence and mayhem over-- "some desecrated the Koran" !!! But then, if you pay attention to the followers of Islam, it's perfectly acceptable to destroy the religious artifacts of other religions-in fact it is perfectly acceptable to wage war and kill all those who follow another religion. In fact, it's perfectly acceptable to wage war and kill someone who follows the "wrong form" of Islam !!

    Go figure !!!!

    January 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hunter

    It is not their fault they are backwards and ignorant. But reality is that is what we are dealing with. As a foreign army (largely from christian countries) we should expect this as a normal tactic against our forces. The response from the on the ground leaders shows they are prepared for this. Going to be hard to win hearts in minds in a country like this. We dont understand the language, culture, or their feelings about their religion. Sad but true they are ingorant poor people that will be living under similar conditions as now 50 years from in the future. Thank god I live in a westernized culture. Not perfect but at least woman can walk around showing there faces or not at there choice without fear of being beaten.

    January 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Julie L.

    And the people play into the Taliban's hands, time and time again....

    January 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shay

    When will people learn that the Bible and the Quran are both books written by men. They were not written by Jesus or the prophet Mohammad. So why do we as humans not realize that the underlying message in both is for religion to promote us as humans to better ourselves and to understand the differences we have with those around us. People are too stubborn when it comes to having an open mind about a different opinion and placing yourself in someone else shoes and seeing the world from their prospective. At the end of the day we are all human, we all have families, friends, loved ones who care about us and we in return care about them. This doesn't change if you are Republican or Democrat, Christian or Muslim, black or white. Aretha Franklin said it best "I just need some RESPECT." If we all made the effort to learn something about an opposing opinion, religion, political party, etc we might realize just how similar we all are and hopefully the stupidity that goes along with stories and events like this will end.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. FitHitTheShan

    Why does it matter and why should we be sensitive to any religion? Everyone (Christians, Muslims and Jews alike) need to wake up from the mythological spell they are under, step back and look at the absurdity of it all. Religion by design divides the people into separate groups that hate each other. Abolish religion and TRULY "Love thy Neighbor".

    January 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hans

    We all have to be sensitive to other people's beliefs whether they are Muslim, Christian, Buddha etc. I disagree with Leeretarmy and think his statements reflect on the ignorance that prevails amongst us.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. edduardo

    Islam has to learn that freedom of speech, freedom of religion also means; freedom to be offended, criticized.

    They cannot have it one way. They can criticize and assoult anybody; but nobody else is allowed to do it to them.

    Quran is a "holy" book like many others; just paper. To hurt or kill people over "desacration" of a book is barbaric.

    Despite my best efforts, I cannot think about devout muslims, other than barbaric savages, people living in Middle Ages. Cruel fanatics like medieval christians.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Andy

    typical of bigots to think that all 1.2 billion muslims act the same. I suppose the KKK is representative of all christians since they did spread murder and mayhem across the southern US for years with preaching about how white supremacy is called for by God in the bible.

    Please let me know when you have surveyed a valid segment of the 1.2 billion muslims.... then you can start making statements that start with "typical of muslims", otherwise, ignorant statements made in comment of ignorant actions just show that non-muslims and muslims are both capable of ignorance.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rusty Freedom

    Agreed, the Muslims are too sensitive about this issue.

    I mean, what American hasn't burned and then urinated on a bible and desecrated a church for fun?

    Just another rite of passage, means nothing. Oh yeah, violating women too – I mean who does it hurt?

    January 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Timothy

    It's a book. Get over it. Why would anyone riot because somebody damaged a book. Unbelievable.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Linda

    It's interesting that the headline focuses on the desecration of the Qur'an as the reason for the protests. Further down, there are incidental mentions of "violating a woman" and destroying a mosque. Do you think maybe that's why the Afghan people are so angry? The Qur'an desecration is simply the icing on the cake.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Susan

    It strikes me somewhat strange that a religion that claims to be monotheistic treats an object as an idol.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Daniel

    How long does it take to print a book? Now...how long does it take to build a church or mosque? Why is it that there are numerous muslim people who will riot and go crazy about the burning of a book. Yet, how much do the same people (or Christians) riot and go crazy over the burning or bombing of a christian church or mosque of a different sect of islam. A book is an expression of a religion's teachings whereas a church is a direct representation of the religion. Our religions are not that different...it is radicallism that is the enemy. Radical christians have killed in the name of religion just as muslims have; yet both religions preach to the practice of peace and understanding. I hope that we as a people can move beyond this radicallism.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jimbo

    Mustapha Krim, the head of the Algerian Protestant Church association, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday that looters also set fire to a pile of Bibles and religious textbooks, and desecrated Christian crosses.

    He said the looting showed "Islamist intolerance considers there is no room for Christian religious practices in Algeria," and alleged it was "fueled by what just happened in Egypt," where six people were killed in a church shooting during Christmas celebrations. In mainly Muslim Malaysia, nine churches have also been recently burned down amid violence against the country's Christian minority.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1952964,00.html#ixzz0cQL7a6TG

    January 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob, Tampa, FL

    If the human race is ever going to advance and get past our religious conflicts everyone, of every faith, has got to begin to understand not everyone shares our same faith or values, or even cares about how we feel (other than maybe to exploit it) As a non-Muslim the Quran is just a book to me (as the Bible might be to a Shintoist), it holds no religious significance. If I do something to it that a believer views as "desecration" that doesn't mean that's how I view it (buring any book, to me, is alarming – but hardly a religious effront). My act would only have true religious significance if I wasa believer and still chose to take the action against the tenants of my own faith. Episodes like this, where "outsiders" attack someone else's icon, are simply attempts to inflame and intimidate. If the "target audience" reacts then they're giving the perpetrators exactly what they want. But when viewed from the perspective of the "desecrator" you can see these things for the empty acts they truly are. They only take on meaning if we allow them too.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  16. U.S. Soldier

    Please remember that these are a people whose sole literary experience is the Koran. They tend to take it very seriously when in their lands and conveniently discard its teachings when their mood fits. Similiar to the bible, it is loaded with contradicting points. Zealots love to point out specifics that forward their thoughts and then act upon them in barbaristic ways. The Koran is only a book and at that it is only about 1,500 years old. It is the youngest of main line religious texts but, its practitioners act upon in the most archaic manner.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Akbar Karmally

    The Quran chapter4 verse 140 states (translation by Pikthall):

    '.. when you hear the revelations of Allah rejected and derided sit not with them until they engage in some other conversation'

    Desecration is a form of rejection. Islam directs Muslims to walk away with dignity from such sacriliage. Rebutal in the form of violence is not allowed. Traditions cannot overrule the commandments of God in the Quran. Where is the sanction for such violence?

    January 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  18. leigh

    Yes it is wrong to destroy the "Koran", but while these people protest they should protest when a Mosque is blown up by a suicide bomber, for sure many Koran's were torn apart and no one I mean no group claims this is wrong in destroying the Koran,tell what is the difference??

    January 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Iam A Kuffar

    It certainly is telling how followers of the self-proclaimed "religion of peace" are anything but. Reminds me of when the Pope mentioned a centuries old quote about Islam being born of the sword and the Muslim response was essentially "We are a religion of peace and we will kill you if you say otherwise."

    January 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Bill

    This is from a religion that tolerates NOTHING other than Islam.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  21. leo

    Leeretarmy
    i am sure they do not care about you either

    January 12, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Adnan N Kiani

    It is really sad to see people doing such things, muslims or christians or people of any other faith. I wish if every one reads and understans what their religion teaches, we would not see such misperceptions about each other nor such incidents. I don't think any religion preaches destruction, violence and hatred for other people, its sheer ignorance of people who do that, and there are a lot of people out there to exploit this ignorance. I think each one of us should forget what others are doing and just reform themselves, this would go a long way in making this world peaceful.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Michael

    Imagine if Muslims occupied the US and burned Bibles, wouldn't we riot too?????

    January 12, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  24. alie

    First of all–lets not generalize my friends. When you want to leave a comment as it relates to our on going struggles with other countries its imperative that you specify who you are talking about. To generalize that all muslims create mayhem and riots is idiotic and I am concerned that did not receive a proper education in your life. Lets stop generalizing that all muslims are bad and Islam as a whole is evil. You obvioulsy took the time to leave your opinion on here, I would suggest you take the time to really hoan in on who is comitting crimes in the muslim world today. 99.999% of muslims are peaceful loving people. Its the radicals that are creating this evil perception of our wionderful religion. Do not be afraid of what you don't know!!!!!!!!!

    January 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  25. just pixels

    Moslems cheer at burning flags, Torah scrolls, Americans, bibles, etc. Then they put death sentences on authors, cartoonists, journalists who write about the actions of the co-religionists. Islam will remain in the 10th century, throwing rocks at modernity and the west until its followers, as a group, abandon both sanctimony and hypocrisy.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  26. WhatTheHec

    72% of Afghans are illiterate...how can they get angry about an alleged desecration of a book most have never read or understood?

    January 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Bosah, MD

    This sounds very familiar. It is a tact usually employed to justify violence against non moslems, especially in Islamic majority countries. Check the records in Egypt and Nigeria for example. I hope the West understands what is going on here. A containment strategy needs to be devised to let Islam deal with its problems emanating from religion induced injustices and misrule, without affording them the sadistic pleasure of savagery and mass murder of non moslems.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  28. John A

    It's so unfortunate that a small band of power hungry thugs have managed to take a perverted version of Islam and use it not only against non muslims but against muslims themselves. It's a fact that almost 90% of the victims if this "Holy War" are muslims, they kill each other, and in the name of what?

    This whole thing is about powere, pure an simple, they (thugs) want it, they want the ultimate control. I believe the west needs to wake up and take a much more definitive approach such as Nation Building. Most of those who fight this are just plain dirt poor, they fight for money and food, give them a job and you'll see how quickly those ranks thin out to nothing...

    January 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Mindstorms

    A Christian Church was attacked and burned down in Algeria. Funny I didn't see Christians rioting after this event. That tells you all have to know about the difference between Christianity and Islam (the religion of peace and understanding).

    January 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Brian Morphid

    A retaliation of this type is pretty much expected in this area of great turmoil. Think about it... the main reason for such fighting is being desecrated. I think the above commenters are trying to make judgments stemming from their ignorance rather than seeing the facts. If the backbone of any religion was harmed, the people of that religion would retaliate the same way.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Randy

    The Quran is a book.Just like the bible is a book. Paper glued together into a cover. it's not God, or Allah or whatever the name you give the creator, it's frigging paper.

    How about people start living spiritually and less religiously for a change. It's stupid.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Lisa

    I was thinking the same thing Leeretarmy – I remember reading about the Buddas being destroyed and didn't care about the religious aspect (any more than as a Christian I would care about a specific churct) but the HISTORICAL and culture significance of those statues .... I don't believe in censorship or book burning whatsoever but please, what hypocrisy.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Kevin

    The same thing happens here in the United States we just do not associate it with such hatred as terrorism because we are so close up to it. If someone were to desecrate the Bible religious leaders go up in arms all throughout the country. Can you imagine if a Muslim man or women came to the US and desecrated a Bible? It would be a international incident. That is not even taking into account the fact that we are at war with Afghanistan. There is a visceral hatred that has been propagated to the US citizens over the past decade that needs desperate and immediate revision. The Quran teaches many things that seem to an outsider tyrannical and unacceptable, but so does the Bible. Look in the Old Testament at some of the laws some of the creeds and hold them up to today's pluralistic standards. The Bible teaches that slavery is acceptable. I think we need to stop reacting with our gut and start using our head. Emotional responses is what got us into this mess. We act without thinking. The terrorists in this world know they cannot beat us militarily, so they will drain us economically. They want us over there to fight and fight and fight. They will raise a cloth on a stick in one part of Afghanistan and we come running. They move to Pakistan we come running. They move to Yemen we come running. All the meanwhile we are running up our debt, the same way the USSR did. There is no doubt that there will be groups out to topple the "top country" in the world, but hasnt there always been? Is that not part of the positions job description. Being number one means you have a bulls-eye on your back. Whether we are No. 1 or not is a question of dispute but our actions are not. The ISAF is correct in their handling of this matter and we need to take a step back and really question our approach and why we are over there in the first place. All we hear is it is in our "national interests" or we were attacked by men from this region. That is all wonderful but why did they attack us? What was their motivation? Why do they hate us? Is it really because of our freedom? A closer look at this will open the eyes of many.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Kevin

    Muslims are a threat to us all. PC CNN hates to hear that, because a liberal never met a terrorist it didn't absolutely love.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Ronin17

    What about Saudi Arabia? Any tourist who visits their country with a bible were confiscated at the airport terminal. Once they confiscate the bible, they burn all of them, and it happens every single day. Now could anyone tell me who's desecrating a holy book?...Hello Crusaders!!

    January 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Holy Moly

    Freaks. They worship a book and not a God. They claim that false idols should be destroyed (and they have succeeded in destroying many beautiful ancient treasures) yet, they are forced as children to obey and honor a book. Not a God.

    Their claims are unjustified.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Michael Ward

    A huge story about possible damage to a Quran that was unfounded, and a paragraph.. no, a couple sentences about a French Solider dying. Nice.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Leeretarmy

    It is great fun for them to desicrate burn destroy and religious items not of their faith. I say to bad respect is a two way street. I have witnessed them burning Christian bibles it was on the news when they blew up 2000 year old Buhdist statues. I could care less about their "book" its just paper.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Abdulameer

    Typical of Moslems - to commit riot, mayhem and other violence if they think that someone, somewhere might have "desecrated" the Koran. Wherever do they get the idea that they are supposed to behave this way? Could it be from the Koran itself which condemns any insult to Islam?

    January 12, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |