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Charge them or let them go!
By The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
Updated Jun 6, 2005 - 8:30:00 AM

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[Editor’s note: The following is the press statement issued by Minister Farrakhan during a press conference held May 25, 2005 at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Illinois concerning the controversy over reports by Newsweek magazine of Qur’anic desecration and treatment of the detainees at the U.S. Guantanamo Base detention facility in Cuba.)


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The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

We are asking the Government of the United States to allow a delegation of Muslims, Christians, Hebrews and Jews, led by members of the United States Congress, to visit the Guantanamo Base detention facility and speak to some of the detainees. Should we find that these allegations are true, then the Government must take steps to correct this, so that America?s image in the world will not be further sullied, and the repair of damaged relationships can begin.
The recent furor allegedly created by a Newsweek article that stated that the Holy Book of the Muslims, The Qur’an, was flushed in a toilet and that this was responsible for the demonstrations and, riots that have taken place in many parts of the Muslim World is at best only partly true.

The article in and of itself was a trigger, but the real truth is that the detainees who have left Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Base in Cuba and other facilities have complained that American and British soldiers and other Foreign Nationals have been grossly disrespectful and filled with hatred for Islam, Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the Holy Qur’an.

The hatred of the American government in the Arab and Muslim World is not only due to an article in Newsweek magazine, but it is the policies of the Government of the United States that have also incensed the whole Arab and Muslim World.

Although Newsweek magazine is backing down from the story that it published due to tremendous governmental pressure, the truth still remains that there is gross disrespect of the culture and way of life that Muslims strive to follow as guided by the Holy Qur’an and the example of Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (Peace Be Upon Him).

Currently, this anti-Muslim behavior has its roots high up in the Government of the United States of America and is being preached from various pulpits by certain highly influential Christian leaders.

We have seen and heard, from the time of 9/11, many respected Christian leaders saying that Islam is a religion of violence and hatred; that the Religion of Islam sees Christians and Jews as infidels and teaches that they should be killed; and that the God of Islam or the God of Muslims is the devil. This has created an atmosphere of hatred, fanned by the media, that causes Muslims to be persecuted as we move about doing our daily work, pursuing our careers or just being normal citizens who believe in the Religion of Islam.

Members of the Muslim community in America are some of the most law-abiding, well-behaved citizens in this country. Muslim scholars have added much to academia, medicine, science and technology, business, banking, paying into the tax structure and into this economy, while at the same time suffering injustice and abuse, trying to travel in the country or out of it, being harassed when returning.

Many Muslims who support the Intifadah (uprising of the Palestinian youth), Hamas or organizations that see themselves as fighting against the illegal occupation of land and territory because of the power of the Government of the United States are labeled as terrorists. Muslims who give charity to these organizations are prosecuted, persecuted and are now being sent to prison or deported. This gross injustice must not, and will not, be tolerated.

The disrespect of the Holy Qur’an, a Book believed in by 1,600,000,000 Muslims, is unacceptable. In truth, however, there are many Muslims who will not read the Bible and have shown disrespect for the scriptures of the Bible. When we disrespect what Allah (God) has revealed through His Prophets, we are also being disrespectful of the people who believe in that scripture.

This is why, in today’s context, the work of the Messiah is so important. In the Qur’an, Allah (God) says that the Messiah will be taught Al-Kitab (The Book)—Qur’an, and he will be taught the wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel, or the Injil.

Why would the Messiah be taught the wisdom of the Qur’an, the Torah and the Injil? It must be because His Mission is the unification of all of the children of Abraham—Muslims, Christians and Jews. Each Book, the Torah, Injil and Qur’an, were revealed for the elevation of human beings that we may, by following such Guidance, reclaim the original position that the Creator intended for human beings.

From the Biblical point of view, that position is to be a reflection of the Creator and to rule His Creation by His Guidance and Permission.

From the Qur’anic point of view, the original position is to be Khalifah, or one who stands in the place of Allah (God) to rule His Creation also by His Guidance and Permission.

So, should not the human being for whom these Books are revealed be looked upon as equal in importance, or even more important, than the Books revealed for our evolutionary development?

The Qur’an that is being flushed in a toilet has no feeling. The Qur’an that is urinated upon has no feeling. Nothing that anyone does to the Qur’an—sitting on it, standing on it, kicking it—diminishes the Power of the Word contained in this Book to transform human life. This manifests gross ignorance, contempt and hatred of those who do these acts for a Book that was revealed for the elevation of all human beings. Should we rise up because of the desecration and disrespect of the Qur’an? Yes, but we should rise up even more so when we see the persecution of those who believe in the Book because they have feelings and it is they who can feel torture and pain, and not the disrespect of this Holy Book, and it was for them for whom the Book was revealed.

For the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to say, "How terrible was the article in Newsweek, which they say was false, that led to the killing of 17 persons and the wounding of hundreds more." But how much more heinous and evil was it to drop bombs on the Muslim and Christian populations of Iraqi and Afghanistan; to kill tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans; to wound hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans; to kill nearly 1,700 Americans; and wound thousands of American soldiers—all on the basis of a lie? Which is worse, what Newsweek did or what the Government of the United States did?

Yes, we are insulted when the Qur’an is disrespected but, as followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, we are equally insulted when the Bible or Torah is disrespected. All of us who love Allah (God) and what is revealed are insulted when any Divine Revelation is spat upon and desecrated, but what is even more horrible is to see the slaughter of human beings over words in a Book that cannot express feelings and pain.

Even if the Newsweek article is retracted, the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, Doctors without Borders and other organizations have issued similar reports, which have been ignored. So, as Muslims, we say enough is enough. We are mobilizing Arab and Muslim countries to say to the Government of the United States: "If these Muslims are guilty, then charge and try them, but to hold them for years without a charge is inhumane and unjust. We, in the Muslim Ummah, cannot tolerate this. We are asking that you try them and, if you have no charge, let them go to their people or their homes."

To stop this furor, we are asking the Government of the United States to allow a delegation of Muslims, Christians, Hebrews and Jews, led by members of the United States Congress, to visit the Guantanamo Base detention facility and speak to some of the detainees. Should we find that these allegations are true, then the Government must take steps to correct this, so that America’s image in the world will not be further sullied, and the repair of damaged relationships can begin.


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