Afghan Muslims Up in Arms over Koran Burnings by US

February 22, 2012  

The U.S. army has profusely apologized for soldiers’ burning of Muslim holy books with extremist passages but local Muslims remain angry.

Copies of the Koran and other Islamic texts were taken from a detention center library next to a U.S. army base after being found to contain additional text with extremist messages. The material was dumped in the garbage and burned, but White House and army officials said it was an accident.

More than 2,000 Afghans protested outside the Bagram Air Base, shouting for death to “foreigners.” Several of the Muslim demonstrators fired rifles in the air, threw stones at the gate of the base and burned tires

“It was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials,” said U.S. General John Allen, the senior commander of U.S. and Nation forces in Afghanistan. “It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam. It was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it we immediately stopped and we intervened,” he added.

His attempt at damage control did not calm the flames of anger in Afghanistan, where the United States is waging a war on terror. General Allen insisted that the books were inadvertently sent to the garbage bin.

Gen. Allen ordered new procedures for instructing soldiers how to handle Muslim religious material.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the burning of the Muslim texts a “deeply unfortunate incident,”

Last year, Afghans staged a deadly demonstration in response to a Florida pastor’s burning a Koran to show his disdain for Muslim extremism, some of which is based on passages in the Koran. The demonstrators raided a United Nations compound and killed seven people.

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