Koran Protests Spread, Reach Indonesia
Backed by Afghan Clerics
Afghan clerics supported demonstrations against the alleged US military desecration of the Koran as a way of breaking radical Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo. They asked demonstrators, however, to avoid violence.
Hundreds of Muslims protested in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. There were also rallies in other parts of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country.
The US military is denying the incident. But enough has come out about the techniques of humiliation used at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib to make the charges plausible to Muslim leaders. Moreover, by now the charge is mainly a vehicle for dissident political parties to get out crowds, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia. The Karzai government’s attempt to blame the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hikmatyar (an old US asset in the 1980s) for the problems in Afghanistan isn’t remarkable, but isn’t compelling either. Hikmatyar isn’t in Indonesia, and all believing Muslims would be appalled and upset at the allegation.