More Koran desecration is being reported — this time in Israel. Israeli parliamentarian Ahmed Tibi has called for a Knesset investigation of the incident, which is supposed to have taken place in Megiddo prison on June 7. Ha’aretz reports:
Prisoners claim that at approximately 10:00 A.M., security forces who raided the prison in order to disperse a riot entered the prisoner cells, where they ripped pages out of the Islamic holy book and, in some instances, stepping on them.
Palestinian security prisoners told Tibi that they have launched a hunger strike and that they will refuse to see visitors in protest to the alleged desecration.
Prison Service officials said in response that the pages alleged to have been torn out of the Koran were larger in size than those usually found in a copy of the Koran, and thus were pages from a different book altogether.
Officials did allow, however, that during the search for weapons and cellular phones, soldiers may have shaken copies of the Koran but deny that pages were ripped out.
JPost: ‘Guantanamo 2’ angers Israeli-Arabs
Jun. 7, 2005 21:28 | Updated Jun. 8, 2005 0:27
‘Guantanamo 2’ angers Israeli-Arabs
By YAAKOV KATZ
There were calls for revenge Tuesday night after Palestinian security detainees in Megiddo Prison claimed Prisons Service guards ripped up and defiled three Korans during a routine search of their cells.
Calling the incident “Guantanamo 2” in reference to the recent US Defense Department acknowledgment that guards at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba defiled several Korans, Sheikh Kamel Hatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, told The Jerusalem Post the Muslim world would react harshly to the desecration.
“Someone will have to pay the price for this,” Hatib said. “They have harmed all Muslim women, children and men by desecrating the word of god.”
MK Ahmed Tibi claimed he had received complaints from prisoners that guards tore and stepped on three copies of the Koran while searching their cells.
“This is vulgar, primitive behavior that cannot be allowed to happen,” he said, calling for a special Knesset session to discuss the affair. He said he also called Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra to complain, and that prisoners would go on a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest.
Ezra and Prisons Service Commissioner Ya’acov Ganot visited Megiddo Tuesday night and said that there had been no faults in the functioning of the prison staff during the searches. They called the entire event was a provocation.
MK Muhammad Barakei also arrived at the prison to study the situation and speak with prisoners.
Prisoners said that following a routine morning roll call, guards raided their cells and tents, brutally turning over their belongings. While the guards found 81 cellphones and 40 knives and other sharp objects during the raid, the prisoners claimed they ripped up several Korans.
Prisons Service officials dismissed the accusations, claiming the guards flipped through one Koran while searching for illegal objects frequently hidden inside. While the guards were searching the book, several pages which were not part of it, but had been placed inside, fell out.
“We are very sensitive when searching through the prisoners’ belongings, especially Korans and other holy objects,” one Prisons Service officer said. “It is important to remember that we have found dozens of dangerous objects hidden inside the prisoners’ holy artifacts and we will continue to search them.”
Ganot instructed the prison’s warden to investigate the matter.
A recent report of US soldiers desecrating the Koran at the lockup in Guantanamo set off deadly riots in the Muslim world.
“This is just like Guantanamo, and the Prisons Service will be like the Americans who in the beginning claimed it didn’t happen and in the end admitted it did,” Hatib said. “The Prisons Service thinks it can curse the Koran and our prophet Muhammad, but it will now begin to hear from people who will express their anger over this desecration.”