A soldier used the Quran -- Islam's holy book -- for target practice, forcing the chief U.S. commander in Baghdad to issue a formal apology on Saturday.The incident provides another example that a book is often understood as much more than merely its contents, and that to damage a book is to wage war on the ideas articulated within its pages and on the people who value those ideas.
Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, apologized to leaders in Radhwaniya, in the western outskirts of Baghdad, for the staff sergeant who was a sniper section leader assigned to the headquarters of the 64th Armored Regiment. He also read a letter of apology by the shooter.
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Copies of the pictures of the Quran obtained by CNN show multiple bullet holes and an expletive scrawled on one of its pages.
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Sheikh Hamadi al-Qirtani, in a speech on behalf of all tribal sheiks of Radhwaniya, called the incident "aggression against the entire Islamic world."
The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq also condemned the shooter's actions and the U.S. military's belated acknowledgment of the incident.
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Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
U.S. Soldier Shoots at Qur'an
Posted by Cordell Waldron
The gravity with which religious texts are handled is on full display in this CNN article about an American soldier in Iraq who used a Qur'an for target practice and the wide-reaching political responses following the act: