Testimonies from Former Guantanamo Bay Detainees
16th May 2005
Cageprisoners is today publishing a compendium of statements from former detainees of Guantanamo Bay regarding the United States Government's systematic, institutionalised and intentful desecration of the Qur'an and other religious abuses and manipulations to degrade and humiliate the detainees.
The report, which is a damningly detailed cross-corroborated litany of abuses of the Qur'an by US forces, demolishes the farcical denial by the United States that the desecration of the Qur'an by the US military and their associated agencies was neither an intentful nor systematic method devised by the US command chain to purposefully torment the detainees.
Included is exclusive new material from former UK based detainees Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbassi and Jamal al-Harith on the abuses they witnessed firsthand and those reported to them second-hand.
This is Feroz's first public statement on the abuses he suffered and witnessed under his detention and refers exclusively to the religious abuses meted out by the US authorities.
The reports details how the US forces systematically in numerous different incidents, throughout the entire lengths of their detention up till their release, variously:
* Stamping on the Qur'an with boots
* Placing the Qur'an in buckets of faeces and urine
* Sitting on the Qur'an
* Shredded the Qur'an in interrogations
* Throwing the Qur’an and kicking it on the floor
* Derisively referring to the Qur'an as a guide on 'how to kill Americans'
* Deliberately providing mistranslated copies of the Qur’an to the prisoners, containing blasphemous meanings
The prisoners state that was all in a bid to break their will and used as a means to maliciously abuse and mentally damage them.
Also reported is:
* Attempts to proselytise by some US Military personnel in order to convert prisoners to Christianity through, for example, the distribution of Bibles and other Christian literature
Systematic and endemic derision and abuse of Islamic religious rituals and supplications such as:
* Mocking and deriding the adhaan (the call to Prayer)
* Forced shaving of the beard (despite the belief of most prisoners that the keeping a beard is a religious Islamic obligation)
* Withholding food during Ramadhan (the month of fasting from dawn to dusk)
* Prohibition of Qur'ranic recitation
* Prohibition of congregational prayer
Feroz Abbasi states that a US interpreter of Lebanese Maronite origin repeatedly slapped and physically degraded the Qur'an whilst calling it 'Shit', how copies of the Qur'an were placed in 'shit' buckets by US forces and details how the interrogators used the Qur'an as a tool to humiliate and abuse the detainees.
Moazzam Begg corroborates Feroz's account and exposes the duplicity of the US Spokesman Richard Boucher's statement that the detainees were given the Qur'an and the opportunity to worship. Detailing a raft of examples of religious abuses by US military personnel.
Jamal Al Harith confirms that 'the US has desecrated the Quran on a number of occasions.' Detailing 'the reason for the first hunger strike in Camp X-ray, which involved about 75% of the detainees was over a guard who kicked the Quran onto the floor from its perch hanging on the side of the cage. Numerous hunger strikes in Camp Delta were over another guard who threw it into the toilet. When searching our cages the guards would sometimes throw the Quran onto the floor. During interrogation, an interrogator jumped up and down on the Quran and taunted a prisoner. In Afghanistan, in the American concentration camps, a Quran was thrown in a waste bucket by a guard…. '
Tarek Dergoul describes the modus operandi of the interrogators which consisted of 'swearing at Allah, swearing at the Prophet and the Qur'an .and mocking [it]' and how Military Police wrote obscentities in copies of the Qur'an scrawling 'F*** off, F*** you' in them.
Mohammes Mazouz states: 'The Americans went [through procedures] to humiliate us and flout our most elementary principles. It concerns the treatment inflicted to the Quran. Anything that could reduce it to nothing was used. They urinated over it, they ripped it; they cut it with scissors in front of us. They defecated on it and painted our faces with it. Yes, all this should be said so that the Muslim world understands which degree of hate this sacred Book inspires in them.'
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)