Monday, July 16, 2007

Detainees chief sees Koran as key ally

Major General Douglas Stone has an unusual daily ritual for a US Marine: the commander of detainee operations in Iraq likes to read the Koran every day.

While he himself is of Christian faith, he sees the Muslim holy book as essential to his mission: he wants those in his custody - some of whom are hardcore Islamist militants - to do as he does and read it as much as possible.

The logic is simple, he says. If detainees read the Koran themselves, they will be better equipped to challenge extremists who deliberately misinterpret the religious text to justify jihadist campaigns.

[Read more]

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  • Of course, the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. The "radicals", at least to my understanding, tend not to be ignorant of the Koran's contents; rather, they pride themselves on having putatively Koranic justification for their actions.

    This is not necessarily an argument against allowing detainees to read the Koran, of course. Rather, it suggests that such reading ought to be accompanied by learned commentary to ensure that they take away the right message from their readings. I _think_ the "deradicalization" programs mentioned in the article do that; if not, they probably ought to.

    On another note, it's encouraging to see a high American official taking seriously the religious aspect of this war.

    By Blogger Avenging Sword, at 8:33 AM, July 19, 2007  

  • You're quite right about the importance of how the Koran's contents are understood. The original article is unclear about whether non-Wahabist interpretations are being offered to the detainees, though I know that is the case with some of the programs referenced at the end of the article, upon which the American program is based.

    I wonder - and this is speculation now - just how well those preaching hirabah (and calling it 'jihad') actually do know the Koran. It's quite possible they rely on a heavy dose of proof-texting. If that's the case, even having detainees read the Koran cover to cover, sans interpretation, while not the most desirable situation, is probably something of an eye-opener, after only having heard key passages preached upon. Just a speculation.

    By Blogger Aaron, at 8:43 AM, July 19, 2007  

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