No Bibles For Prisoners At Gitmo
My husband and I had a wonderful vacation in Southern California. We gazed at the sunset on Laguna Beach, toured the Getty Center, enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with family, checked out the glitz on Hollywood Boulevard, shopped in Chinatown and on Olvera Street, ate lunch at Fabiolus Cafe on Sunset Boulevard, strolled the pier at Santa Monica, cruised through Beverly Hills--all those touristy things we never tire of when we visit my in-laws, who live right on Hollywood Boulevard. Unlike last year's visit, this year the weather cooperated, and, for the most part, we had cerulean-blue skies and summerlike temperatures.
But, of course, we weren't completely in fantasy land because every morning I picked up a copy of the newspaper. And one day the following surreal story appeared in the Los Angeles Times:
Guantanamo Bay Prisoner Sues U.S. to Get a Bible:Maybe I'm missing the point here, but I don't understand why Paracha cannot have a copy of the Bible. Furthermore, I'm relatively certain that should the inmates at Gitmo decide to desecrate Bibles Christians will not riot in the streets.
The government says certain books are withheld because they could 'incite' inmates
"At the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, everyone can get a Koran, but no one gets a Bible.
"Saifullah Paracha, a 58-year-old former Pakistani businessman with alleged ties to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has been in U.S. custody since 2003. Like the other inmates at Guantanamo Bay, he has a copy of the Koran. But he also wants an English translation of the King James version of the Bible.
"Paracha believes that because the Bible is one of the scriptures accepted in Islam, he is entitled to a copy to read in his small wire-mesh cell. But after his lawyer shipped him a Bible, along with two volumes of Shakespeare, prison officials confiscated the package.
"Paracha's American lawyer filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, demanding that Paracha be given the Bible and copies of Hamlet and Julius Caesar. The government responded that certain books were kept from prisoners because they could 'incite' them....
"Although a judge has not sorted out the dispute, the prison has recently 'cleared for release' the Shakespeare plays. But still no Bible for Paracha."
In his Weblog article "Working out the Counterterrorist Kinks," Daniel Pipes made the following comment about the above newspaper article:
"In considering U.S. policy toward terrorists, I argue that the authorities face a whole new set of issues for which, however slowly and clumsily, they are developing a coherent set of regulations and guidelines.
"Just how slow and clumsy that process comes vividly to light in an article by Richard A. Serrano in the Los Angeles Times....
"That the U.S. government provides suspected Islamist terrorists with Korans but refuses them Bibles exactly sums up its confusion."