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US Soldier Has to Apologize for Using Quran for Target Practice

A United States soldier stationed in Iraq has been removed following an investigation that revealed that the soldier used the Quran as a target for shooting. Iraqi police discovered the bullet-ridden holy book on a small-arms range in the vicinity of a police station in the Radwaniyah.

This is another incident that further strains relations between Americans and Sunnis who called the act “a hideous act against the book of almighty God and the constitution of the nation and the source of its glory and dignity.”

The top American commander in Baghdad apologized to community leaders in Radwaniyah in a ceremony saying: “I come before you here seeking your forgiveness. In the most humble manner I look in your eyes today and say please forgive me and my soldiers.”

This, along with a mortar shell which hit a residential area north of Baghdad killing at least four people and wounding thirty others, mostly children playing, have heightened tensions between US forces and Iraqi citizens recently. Is the act understandable given the us-vs-them mentality that is necessary in war? Is it tension of battle run amuck, or an indefensible act? Was the apology enough? Too much?


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jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
People who are willing to look at the actions of a single person or a handful of people and extrapolate that across an entire military or an entire country are no different than the people they think they are condemning. The vast majority of American soldiers have spent a lot of time in the Middle East in recent years and seen horrible things done to people they care about by a small handful of Muslims and yet they maintain compassion for the majority of Muslims in the area and do their jobs carefully to protect those who have no hand in the violence. To claim that none of them are able to do that or to claim that none of them care when things like this happen is just offensive to me.
Zeinobia Zeinobia 9 years
I am a Muslim Egyptian and let me tell you that the middle Eastern media is trying not to shad the light on the incident , because it will increase the anger in the Middle East more and more . Did I feel offended ?? Sure yes , but it is the not first time the American Army members whether in Iraq or guantanamo bay do something like this these young men got an idea that the enemy they are fighting is the religion itself and this is not good
BeautiJunki BeautiJunki 9 years
the apology was only cuz they got caught! my husband's family is from iran and people say the most derogatory things about middle eastern people and when i casually mention he's of middle eastern descent the back pedal so fast it nuts. this made the us look so immature and foolish and its sad that the young soldiers don't always take their cultural sensitivity training seriously and now one dumb action makes us look like uncaring donkeys in some ways to that part of the world this is worst than the Abu Ghraib fiasco.
zeze zeze 9 years
"I don't think this reflects our service men and women as a whole, but it does really hurt our efforts in Iraq." Thanks, and just to add on to your comment, another big disappointment here is that the way reality works, you can do a thousand good deeds, but it only takes one bad one to erase all the good from people's minds - the sad truth. I think these soldiers should be punished, while I believe Gen. Hammond was sincere, I think we need to punish these offenders to 1- save face, 2- b/c it is the right thing to do, and 3- to show other soldiers thinking do doing something this stupid, or no thinking, that such conduct is not acceptable in its face and not acceptable b/c it creates dangerous situations for fellow soldiers.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
In response to RosaDilia, I find it extremely unlikely that the US would "take action in a nano-second" if someone shot a bible. People have burned US flags and effigies of our President with zero response from the military. This was incredibly stupid. The fact that it is a common, inanimate object is irrelevant - the symbolic message of the act is what is so offensive. At the same time, it is SO frustrating that one stupid act by one stupid soldier gets massive media attention and the many, many heroic and courageous acts of many, many soldiers get completely ignored.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Zeze, very well said. I don't think this reflects our service men and women as a whole, but it does really hurt our efforts in Iraq.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
zeze said it :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
no matter what it means to a particular individual, it is important to show reverence toward others' religious beliefs and symbols, no matter how ridiculous we think they are. When i was in Egypt, i accidentally walked to the door of the men's side of a mosque. i didn't go in, but it was clear that I was headed that way. boy, did i encounter some immediate rage! I understood what I had done, and glady stepped aside to go toward the women's side. I just wanted to see what it was like inside. It was so shocking and disgusting to me that they felt my womanhood was going to defile their holy site. I would have probably been physically hurt had I kept walking! That was just so ridiculous to me, but on the other hand I actually felt BAD that I had upset them so much.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
I second zeze's comments! This was such a stupid thing to do!
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
How many times do things like this need to happen? I understand that many people in this country feel the way CaterpillarGirl does, but it is exactly that attitude that exacerates tensions among people who may otherwise be on our side. Yes, it is just paper and leather, but violently destroying and disrespecting an important symbol of Middle Eastern culture isn't going to win you many friends.
NYFashionista NYFashionista 9 years
While the act is inexcusable and unacceptable, these things do and unfortunately will happen in wars. I'm glad the U.S. is bringing light to this situation and condemning this solider's inadmissable behavior instead of covering it up. It shows that they aren't willing to accept this type of attitude and it will hopefully prevent others from doing the same.
zeze zeze 9 years
Caterillar: The Quran is not considered a work of fiction by Muslims. Secondly, this didn't happen here, there is a HUGE difference between a war zone where the people (especially the Sunnis) perceive you as occupiers and the US where you live a safe comfortable life. Imagine if a foreign force took over your town and started putting bullets through the things/symbols of what is most sacred to you. Aside from this being completely shameful and disrespectable, it is STUPID. The Sunnis are just starting to get on track, just started helping us uncover insurgents, and have just started to cooperate in the government...this one incident will erase most of that was built, many of the people will revert back to thinking the US is nothing more than an occupier who wishes to attack and kill as many Muslims as possible. The radicals who have been quieted down with good acts will rise up and shout "I told you so" - more attacks against US soldiers will result and these idiots that did this will be home free while someone else pays the price of their stupidity.
JuliusCaesar JuliusCaesar 9 years
totally inappropriate - this kind of behaviour could endanger the lives of his fellow soliders. And the fact is that Muslims hold the Qur'an in such high reverance and even if this was an misunderstanding it will to be hard to explain it as such.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
The apology was enough it was the act that was too much. When conducting an unpopular occupation in a region where tensions are so tight a slight change in the breeze will have it snap. The last thing we need is some imbecile symbolically slapping every Muslim in the face backwards and forwards. I swear every time we take two steps forward it's stupidity like this that sends us three steps back. They need to make these soldiers understand that it is just as important strategically not to give into this ignorance as it is to carry out their orders.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Oh please if anyone shot the bible over here no one would blink an eye...its just a book after all isnt it? work of fiction, paper and leather....
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
Very inappropriate of that soldier he should be ashamed. I'm sure if the Sunnis took a bible and did the same thing the US would take action in a nano-second. And that apology just makes the US forces look like a$$es over other stupid ignorant soldiers and makes us wonder why we're still fighting and inexplicable war.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
I agree, KrisSugar. There's never a reason, us vs. them mentality or not. Don't get me wrong... occasionally, things were said that were inappropriate when I was in, but really... it's wrong AND you're leaving proof of it laying around? Come on, guys...
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
that was such an unbelievably ignorant, stupid thing for that soldier to do! all you can really do is apologize. any act or gesture would seem silly compared to how horrible that was.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
It's not like anyone in the Middle East would start a war over religion or anything.
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