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    Newsweek switch on Quran story

    Newsweek switch on Quran story pleases nobody
    Muslims see a coverup for U.S.; White House demands full retraction

    MSNBC staff and news service reports
    Updated: 12:11 p.m. ET May 16, 2005

    KABUL - The firestorm of anger continued Monday over Newsweek’s handling of a story that alleged U.S. interrogators desecrated the Quran as Muslim leaders and the Bush administration both blasted the magazine’s partial retraction of the piece.

    Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan said that U.S. pressure was behind the magazine's shift while presidential spokesman Scott McClellan called it “puzzling” that “while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refuse to retract the story.” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the story “appalling”

    The report in Newsweek’s May 9 issue said that investigators probing abuses at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay found that interrogators “had placed Qurans on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book down the toilet.” It sparked protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Gaza.

    But Newsweek said Sunday the report might not be true.

    Newsweek said its information had come from a “knowledgeable government source” who told the magazine that a military report on abuse at Guantanamo Bay said interrogators flushed at least one copy of the Quran down a toilet in a bid to make detainees talk.

    But Newsweek said the source later said he could not be certain he had seen an account of the incident in the military report and that it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts.

    Afghans were unconvinced.

    “It’s not acceptable now that the magazine says it’s made a mistake,” said Hafizullah Torab, 42, a writer and journalist in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, where the protests began last Tuesday. “No one will accept it.”

    Muslims consider the Quran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence.

    Last week’s bloody anti-American protests across Afghanistan were the worst since U.S. forces invaded in 2001 to oust the Taliban for sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.

    “We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst,” Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the apology.

    White House criticism
    The White House said Monday that Newsweek’s response was insufficient.

    “I think there’s a certain journalistic standard that should be met. In this instance it was not,” McClellan said.

    “This was a report based on a single anonymous source that could not substantiate the allegation that was made,” McClellan added. “The report has had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged. I just find it puzzling.”

    Whitaker wrote that the magazine’s information came from “a knowledgeable U.S. government source,” and writers Michael Isikoff and John Barry had sought comment from two Defense Department officials. One declined to respond, and the other challenged another part of the story but did not dispute the Quran charge, Whitaker said.

    But on Friday, a top Pentagon spokesman told the magazine that a review of the military’s investigation concluded “it was never meant to look into charges of Quran desecration. The spokesman also said the Pentagon had investigated other desecration charges by detainees and found them ‘not credible.”’

    Source backtracks
    Whitaker added that the magazine’s original source later said he could not be sure he read about the alleged Quran incident in the report Newsweek cited, and that it might have been in another document.

    “Top administration officials have promised to continue looking into the charges, and so will we,” Whitaker wrote.

    Many of the 520 inmates at Guantanamo are Muslims arrested during the U.S.-led war against the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies in Afghanistan.

    In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the original story was “demonstrably false” and “irresponsible,” and “had significant consequences that reverberated throughout Muslim communities around the world.”

    “Newsweek hid behind anonymous sources, which by their own admission do not withstand scrutiny,” Whitman said. “Unfortunately, they cannot retract the damage they have done to this nation or those that were viciously attacked by those false allegations.”

    Demonstrations around the world
    After Newsweek published the story, demonstrations spread across Afghanistan and Muslims around the world decried the alleged desecration.

    In Afghanistan, Islamic scholars and tribal elders called for the punishment of anyone found to have abused the Quran, said Maulawi Abdul Wali Arshad, head of the religious affairs department in Badakhshan province.

    Arshad and the provincial police chief said the scholars met in Faizabad, 310 miles northeast of the capital, Kabul, and demanded a “reaction” from U.S. authorities within three days.

    Lebanon’s most senior Shiite Muslim cleric on Sunday said the reported desecration of the Quran is part of an American campaign aimed at disrespecting and smearing Islam.

    In a statement faxed to The Associated Press, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah called the alleged desecration a “brutal” form of torture and urged Muslims and international human rights organizations “to raise their voices loudly against the American behavior.”

    On Saturday, Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, both allies of Washington, demanded an investigation and punishment for those behind the reported desecration of the Quran.

    Rice said the Newsweek report had “done a lot of harm” to U.S. outreach in the Muslim world.

    “It’s appalling that this story got out there,” Rice told reporters traveling with her during a trip to Iraq.

    “I hope that everybody will step back and take a look at how they handled this — everybody,” Rice said.

    She said she does not know whether the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq made this story easier to believe.

    “We’re always trying to improve our ability to deal with both reality when there is something like Abu Ghraib and when there is rumor or misinformation were trying to deal better with those circumstances, too.”

    Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    © 2005


    Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

    From BBC:

    Koran desecration report 'wrong'

    US magazine Newsweek has said it erred in reporting that a copy of the Koran had been flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay by US interrogators.
    It said a US military investigation had failed to corroborate the story and apologised for carrying the report.

    At least 15 people have been killed in anti-US riots in Afghanistan following the article's publication last week.

    The US military in Afghanistan says, however, there will still be an investigation into the allegations.

    Several claims of desecration of the Koran have been made by former inmates of the US facility in Cuba.

    As well as the deaths in Afghanistan, more than 100 people have been injured in violent protests across the Muslim world, from Pakistan to Indonesia.

    'No longer sure'

    In Pakistan, an alliance of six conservative Islamic parties has already rejected Newsweek's retraction.

    We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence
    Mike Whitaker
    Newsweek editor

    Alliance leader, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, said it was "a crude attempt, both by the weekly magazine and the American authorities to defuse the anger of the Muslims across the world".

    In its latest edition, Newsweek's editor writes that its original source is not sure where he saw the assertion.

    "We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the US soldiers caught in its midst," the editor, Mark Whitaker, writes.

    In its new account, the magazine says that one of its reporters spoke to "his original source, the senior government official, who said that he clearly recalled reading investigative reports about mishandling the Koran, including a toilet incident".

    "But the official, still speaking anonymously, could no longer be sure that these concerns had surfaced" in a forthcoming report by the US military, the magazine added.

    Mr Whitaker told the Reuters news agency that he no longer knew whether the occurrence was genuine.

    "As to whether anything like this happened, we just don't know," he said.

    Mass protests

    The Pentagon has said there is no substance to the specific allegation.

    But a spokesman for the US military in Afghanistan says there will still be a thorough investigation into the claims.

    "It is important that the Afghan people see that we take any allegations like this seriously," the spokesman, Col James Yonts, said.

    Several Muslim countries, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had strongly condemned the reported allegations and asked Washington to take stern action if they were right.

    Violence broke out in several Afghan cities as angry mobs attacked the offices of the UN and international aid agencies.

    Insulting the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad is regarded as blasphemy and punishable by death in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The US is holding about 520 inmates at Guantanamo Bay, many of them al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US and subsequent US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

    Story from BBC NEWS:


      Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

      its only Quran


        Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

        Yeah..that's all they have got. They should eat it.


          Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

          In-depth discussion already going on in here


            Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

            That's why clean and pure things should be kept as clean and pure as possible...In layman's terms it means, stay away from pigs, because they are in their own muck and their filth can come upon your nice clean clothes...

            The Quran is something reverent to the Muslims...I would like everyone here to come up with any incident of any Muslim burning any religious or sacred text from any other religion...

            If you cannot respect something so close to someone's heart and soul, that means you yourself lack heart and soul...Like a pig...

            This was shameful, and what's more shameful is the coverup with smiling anchormen...

            This matter needs to be investigated by European monitors, pefereably not British...
            Focus not on who you are but what you do...


              Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

              ^^ like arresting 40 Pakistani Christians in Saudi for worshipping? Clean your own house.
              Boycott Venezuelas State owned Citgo.

              Buy Royal Dutch Shell gasoline!


                Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

                [QUOTE=Lajawab]I would like everyone here to come up with any incident of any Muslim burning any religious or sacred text from any other religion...


                Taliban destroying Buddha.


                  Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

                  Lajo... missed your lunch again? Burning Quran is the proper way to dispose it off (or burying it). Your Mullah really did a job on you.


                    Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

                    day late and a $ short.
                    Can you Hear me Now!! Good


                      From what I read in the Newsweek apology piece, they had only one "iffy" source, and relied on rumor published by other publications as their 2nd.

                      It's basically shoddy journalism, and someone at the magazine made a poor choice to go without properly verifying the facts.
                      If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone. Michael Corleone


                        Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

                        That's like saying after a rape, "It's only your mom..." You may not hold anything of value and honour to anything, but we Muslims do...Quran is one of them...

                        The Buddha relics are not religious texts...As with almost all American cities, the Azaan cannot be delivered with loudspeakers, similarly in Muslim nations, you cannot have religious symbols on the outside...The administration is supposed to take it down...

                        Come up with a better one...


                        Like I said, let me open up a Masjid in the Vatican, then we can talk...
                        Focus not on who you are but what you do...


                          Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

                          Lajawab - change the verse that says where Muslims pray they can claim in the name of Islam and you have a deal, that was one of the reasons Muslims were not allowed to pray in the Mosque in Spain. First the Vatican said it was up to the local Catholic leaders, then Muslims started saying that they could reclaim it in the name of Islam if that happened, then Catholic Church pulled back (on top of the riots of course).

                          Last I looked there were Muslim prayers held in Catholic churches.

                          Also, I have never heard of the Vatican refusing entry on the grounds to any other faith either.

                          Earlier, as he received the leaders of other religions at the Vatican, the pope said he was "particularly grateful" that Muslims were present and expressed his appreciation for what he said was a "growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, both at the local and international level."

                          "I assure you that the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole," he said.
                          Last edited by minah_pa; May 16, 2005, 04:16 PM.
                          "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." - John F. Kennedy

                          "Someday we gonna rise up on that wind you know
                          Someday we gonna dance with those lions
                          Someday we gonna break free from these chains and keep on flyin'" - flipsyde


                            Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

                            Then, I would suggest that there should be no Mosques or Muslims (oh, you could go there to work, but you could not worship) in the entire country of Italy, as the whole country of Saudi Arabia does not allow even the worship of Christianity, never mind a Church.

                            Of couse my complaints extend beyond Saudi. New churches (as opposed to replacements) cannot be built in Islamic countries. The Taliban issued death sentences for those who convert to Christianity from Islam (could the US kill those who convert to Islam?). All over the Islamic world from Egypt to Indonesia to Pakistan there are instances of "forced conversion" to Islam, including circumcision. And now Pakistani passports list "religion", wonder why THAT is needed eh? Sounds a little like Hitler tatooing Jews. Blah blah blah....

                            You get the point, basic fairness. Respect breeds respect.
                            Boycott Venezuelas State owned Citgo.

                            Buy Royal Dutch Shell gasoline!


                              Re: Newsweek switch on Quran story

                              ^ those who talk about respect and their own superiority should act like they have some as well..

                              p.s: does this newsweek story and the US deaths involved mean this will be the last time the already servile US media does any investigative work?
                              How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?