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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Muslim press anger over Koran allegations
Muslim sentiments have been hurt

Newspaper commentators across the Muslim world continue to react with anger following allegations that the Koran was desecrated at the US base in Guantanamo Bay.

Despite the retraction of its report by the US news magazine Newsweek and White House efforts to placate the Muslim world, the commentators accuse the West of caring little about Muslim sensitivities.

At a time when protests were spreading across the Islamic world over the anger caused by the desecration of the holy Koran in Guantanamo, TV stations were broadcasting images of the holy Koran torn up by US forces in one of the mosques in Iraq. Why are they provoking the emotions of Muslims?

Jordan's Al-Dustur

The wound of the desecration of the Holy Koran in Guantanamo prison by US soldiers had not yet healed when similar reports came from Iraq. We say it is the duty of US government to carry out an impartial investigation into the desecration of the Holy Koran in Iraq and Guantanamo and punish those involved in this heinous act. Otherwise, the US will face serious repercussions, as serious hatred against the US is emerging in Muslim countries, particularly Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Pakistan's Express

This apology is only aimed at calming the sentiments of Muslims. We believe it is better for the US not to test the sentiments of the Muslims any further. The Holy Koran is dearer to Muslims than their lives. The US government should immediately apologise and bring in investigators from Islamic countries to investigate the claims. Only then will Muslims be satisfied.

Pakistan's Pakistan

No matter whether or not US soldiers really desecrated the Koran, the US military has always disrespected other religions, and the US has never been truly willing to foster good relations with the Islamic world. The US military is launching an investigation, which is heartening. If the reports turn out to be true, it is hoped that Washington will punish all those involved, because only then can the anger of the people of Islamic countries be quelled temporarily.

Malaysia's Sin Chew Jit Poh

The United States ought to be more responsible in dealing with the sensitivity of Muslims, particularly when involving the Holy Book.

Malaysia's Berita Harian

You would be a big fool to believe that the Afghans read Newsweek, got shocked by the news of the Koran being desecrated, and then angrily went out to the streets in a spontaneous emotional demonstration! The Newsweek magazine is not even sold in Afghanistan. It only arrives late to subscribing institutions and a minority of individuals. The news is also in English in a country where the majority is illiterate. Someone is trying to cause a feud between the people of religion.

London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat

The way the US magazine is declaring this report as "unauthentic" can lead to the conclusion that either it published it to inflict mental and spiritual torment on Muslims around the world, or put its journalistic credibility on the line in giving in to pressure from the US administration. The widespread protests in the Islamic world triggered by the publication of the report have vigorously shaken the US administration, and it worked out a plan to assuage Muslim sentiments, while escaping the humiliation of apologising to them.

The biggest problem is that the trend to humiliate Muslims is on a rapid rise now in the West, be it by governments or their loyalists in the media. They should realise that Muslims, regardless of their country, can tolerate anything except the denigration of their religious faith. The desecration of the Holy Koran should be investigated and the guilty brought to justice. Muslims cannot be satisfied with anything less than that.

India's Urdu-language Inqilab

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

White House hits out at Newsweek
18 May 05 |  Americas
Press unmoved by Newsweek retraction
17 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Newsweek withdraws Koran report
17 May 05 |  Americas
Hardliners reject Koran apology
16 May 05 |  Americas

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