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06 March 2012

U.S. Department of Defense Unveils New Quran Sensitivity Training Program

000.jpgThe U.S. Government would make a lousy parent. Imagine you've got two children. One is well behaved, the other is a spoiled brat. You go to the

grocery store, and both kids ask for candy. You tell them both "No." The good child accepts your decision and stands quietly. The other child throws himself on the floor, kicking and screaming, flailing around, breaking things, convulsing with rage. Should you give the spoiled child what he demands? According to the Department of Defense, you should. Whoever throws the biggest tantrum gets whatever he wants. The message we've just sent the world is crystal clear: Go on a killing spree, and we will submit.

Here's the latest Qur'an sensitivity training from the Department of Defense. I think I would title the program "Fun with Sharia." (H/T Atlas Shrugs.)

Hmmm. "We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others." And here I thought the First Amendment guaranteed our right to freedom of religion. Now we find out that we MUST hold Islamic beliefs "sacred." Sharia is sacred to Muslims. The belief that Muhammad is a prophet is sacred to Muslims. The superiority of Islam is sacred to Muslims. It seems that if Muslims hold slaughtering unbelievers, killing apostates, beating wives, raping women, and sex with prepubescent girls "sacred," we must do the same.

Here's the training material to accompany the slides:

Subject: Mandatory Training
Importance: High

Please see attached training module, this training is mandatory and must be completed by all onsite personnel by 10 March 2012. For any personnel scheduled to leave before this training is due, the training must be done and reported to Operations prior to travel. All departments will be required to scan all sign in sheets to Operations for accountability purposes; the departments will be required to keep these documents on hand for any record keeping purposes.

Proper Handling and Disposal of Islamic Religious Materials Service Members/Civilian Training “Notes”

Slide 1 - Proper Handling and Disposal of Islamic Religious Materials

Years of successful relationship building can be undermined by a single careless incident such as the event that took place on 21 FEB 2012. Muslim holy books were burned in a pile of garbage at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan after being removed from a library at a nearby detention center.

When remnants of the burned books were discovered by Afghan workers, more than 2,000 angry Afghans protested outside of Bagram Air Base. “Die, die, foreigners!” the demonstrators shouted. Some fired rifles into the air. Others threw rocks at the gate of the base and set tires ablaze.

As the crowd grew, so did the outrage. One protester said if U.S. forces can’t bring peace to Afghanistan they should go home. “They should leave Afghanistan rather than disrespecting our religion, our faith,” one man said. “They have to leave, and if next time they disrespect our religion, we will defend our holy Quran, religion and faith until the last drop of blood has left in our body.”

It is vital for every member of Coalition Forces to be equipped so that incidents such as this do not occur again.

Slide 2 - Commander’s Intent

PURPOSE: conduct training on the proper handling and disposal of Islamic Religious Materials

METHOD: training to increase awareness of cultural and religious sensitivities regarding Islamic Religious Materials

END STATE: US personnel will be equipped to appropriately handle and process Islamic Religious Materials

Slide 3 – What Is the Quran?

The vast majority of Afghans are Muslim (99%) and practice Islam. The Quran is Islam’s Sacred Book. The text—in its original Arabic—is considered the literal word of God. It is the foundation of Muslim society and the main source of law and theology.

The Quran is regarded as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language. It is composed of 114 Suras (chapters) made up of verses (ayahs). Arabic is read from right to left and from front to back, just opposite of a text written in English. The text of the Quran is about as long as the New Testament.

Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Muhammad by God through the angel Gabriel in a period that spans twenty-three years beginning in 610 CE.

Muslims believe the Quran has survived to present times in its original form and is God’s final revelation to humanity.

Slide 4 - Identifying a Quran
Because Muslims believe the Quran is the literal word of God, they treat all copies of book with extreme veneration. Every complete copy, or even partial passages, are considered holy. This includes verses that have been hand-written and that include the name of God. It is considered culturally insensitive for any non-Muslim to touch a copy of the Quran. Even Muslims are supposed to perform ablution (a ritualistic hand washing) before holding the Quran.

Quran verses need not be in a book or even on paper to be sacred to Muslims. You will likely not be able to read the highly decorative script in Arabic. Use your interpreter to identify Qurans or Quranic verses.

Slide 5 - Cultural Sensitivity

Verbal disrespect for Islam and/or the Quran is considered as inappropriate as physical desecration of the Quran. Insulting the Quran is an act of blasphemy.

Expect to encounter a copy of the Quran of other Islamic Religious Materials when you search a person’s belongings or home. Ask the person or homeowner to remove the sacred text or place it in a secure location before conducting a search.

Insurgents will use even perceived disrespect to Islam and/or the Quran to their advantage to substantiate their claim that NATO ISAF forces are dishonoring Afghan religious and cultural values.

Slide 6 - Handling the Quran

Non-Muslims should NEVER handle an Arabic version of the Quran.

While non-Muslims are permitted to handle a translation of the Quran, one should make it a general practice to treat all religious materials with extraordinary respect.

If in the performance of your duty, you are required to handle a Quran or other Islamic Religious Material, you should use a clean cloth or clean gloves.

It is important to recognize that even partial copies or hand-written verses of the Quran are equally sacred and must be
handled in the same manner.

Slide 7 - Handling the Quran

These points emphasize some of the significant measures that Muslims follow when handling their own sacred text.

Slide 8 - Handling the Quran

Photo from 21 FEB 2012 event at BAF.

As well as the Quran, service members may come in contact with other Islamic Religious Materials. These may include the Sunnah (Islamic guidance based on the behavior of the Prophet Muhammad), the Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad on various major and minor issues), or various other printed or hand-written religious materials.

Slide 9 - Disposal of Islamic Religious Materials

This slide describes the appropriate procedure for dealing with discovered Islamic Religious Materials: Secure, Notify, Validate, Contact, Transfer

Remember when securing items that you must still use proper procedures when handling Islamic Religious Materials, even if you are not certain of the exact nature of the materials you are have discovered. Proper handling ensures no offense will be given should these materials be deemed sacred in nature.

Notify your chain of command concerning the discovery and location of potential Islamic Religious Materials, the need to validate their identity, and the necessity of contacting an ANA Religious Cultural Affairs (RCA) Officer, similar to US chaplain. (The ANA has an RCA Officer Program. Although the RCA Officer Program differs from the U.S. Military Chaplaincy, part of its mission is Religious Support, as the ANA’s religious officers and clerics. Hence the role of the RCA Officer is critical in ensuring an Afghan lead in RLL/E operations. RCA Officers are uniquely qualified members of the ANA, representing their command).

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