Demonstration outside US Base in Afghanistan against Quran-Burning Turns Violent

On Thursday, a hundred or so demonstrators gathered outside a US military base at Mirwais in southern Afghanistan on hearing that there had been a ritual Quran-burning inside the base. In fact, it had been a routine pit burn of documents. At one point in the rally, a demonstrator raised an AK-47 toward a base tower guard, and was shot. The Demonstrators dragged him away before his condition could be determined.

This incident comes on the heels of a big demonstration in West Kabul on Wednesday that left one dead and dozens wounded, also against American fundamentalist Christians’ Quran-burning threats and events. During the past two weeks there have been several such demonstrations in Afghanistan, and hard line Muslim fundamentalists have used their cover to tear down the campaign posters of the liberal or female candidates for seats in parliament.

The anti-Muslim bigots in the US who provoked all this trouble with their Nazi-like threats of book-burning (some of which have been followed through on) did US troops in Afghanistan no favors. I think the growing urban legend in Afghanistan that virtually all Americans enjoy a good Quran barbecue regularly and that it is a central ritual on US military bases is a real psy-ops threat to US counter-insurgency efforts. The Taliban can save their armed, trained fighters for specialized operations if they can so easily mobilize ordinary Pashtun villagers to hold demonstrations outside lightly-manned US forward operating bases.

The USG Open Source Center translates a Pashto newspaper account of this incident that claims a higher death toll, of 4, though police authorities say the 4 were wounded, not killed.

‘ Commander in Afghan south says anti-US demonstrators were Taleban
Afghan Islamic Press
Thursday, September 16, 2010 …
Document Type: OSC Translated Text…

Commander in Afghan south says anti-US demonstrators were

Text of report by private Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency

Kandahar, 16 September: Four people have been killed and eight others wounded in firing on a demonstration.
Foreigners on Thursday (16 September) killed four people in firing on demonstrators in Urozgan Province who accused foreign forces of burning the holy Koran.

An eyewitness in Chora District of Urozgan Province told Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) by telephone that hundreds of people in the centre of Chora took burned pages of the Koran on a bed in protest to the district centre, saying that foreign forces had burned the Koran during an operation in the (?Darqshan) area of the district last night.

According to eyewitnesses, the demonstrators, who were chanting anti-American slogans, were not allowed by the police to move forward towards the centre of Chora. Afterwards, they staged a demonstration towards a foreign military base in the area where foreign forces fired shots at the demonstrators, killing four demonstrators and wounding eight others.

When AIP asked the press office of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) about this incident in Kabul, it sent a statement to AIP saying that a number of demonstrators had thrown stones at an ISAF base in the Chora District and a person holding a Kalashnikov was trying to approach the base and the ISAF opened fire on him. The statement did not comment on the demonstrators’ claim that foreign forces had burned the Koran or whether the person shot was killed or wounded.

On the other hand, Urozgan Security Commander Joma Gul Hemat rejected reports that foreign forces have burned the Koran and said that those who gathered were not demonstrators but Taleban who wanted to enter a foreign military base on the pretext of the burning of the Koran. He added that only four people were wounded in firing by foreign forces. However, Hemat did not say what did the foreign and Afghan forces do to the rest of the demonstrators, who Hemat said were the Taleban. The security commander said that an investigation had been launched into the incident.

(Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto — Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto — Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans, that describes itself as an independent “news agency” but whose history and reporting pattern reveal a perceptible pro-Taliban bias; the AIP’s founder-director, Mohammad Yaqub Sharafat, has long been associated with a mujahidin faction that merged with the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate” led by Mullah Omar… ) ‘

Posted in Afghanistan | 6 Responses | Print |

6 Responses

  1. This demonstration was Sept. 16th, 5 days after No-Name embarrassed himself quickly via MSM. In places without internet-instance, ideas die slowly. Do *you personally* remember the feeling of “slow ideas”? I do.

  2. This islamophobia and racism thing reminds me of the principle for people affected by problem drinkers and drug abuse; the drinker is an alcoholic when they admit that to themselves. In the meantime, it’s up to those being affected by that behavior to take responsibility for steps in their own lives to limit the craziness.

    I wonder how many people spamming ‘3 reasons to fear moslems’ links have payed any attention to the many immigrants in their communities. The cultural moslems (Iranian-Americans, as it happens) that I interact with most frequently are homeowners, into cajun dancing. Another, a palestinian fellow, is a heavy pot smoker, looking to get back into restaurant work, where the moslem-raised are heavily represented as owners and employes.

  3. For immediate release in Afghanistan and Kashmir:
    Video: link to
    Pedro Escobar: link to

    Story: “Dude, you HAVE no Koran!”
    The internet has a new hero: skateboarder Jacob Isom of Amarillo, Texas.
    The 23-year-old single-handedly stopped a Koran burning in an Amarillo park Saturday by swiping the kerosene-soaked holy book when the militant Christian protest leader’s back was turned.

    “He said something about burning the Koran and I was like, ‘Dude, you HAVE no Koran’ and ran off,” Isom told local TV News Channel 10.

    The video went viral across the internet Monday and “dude you HAVE no koran” became the catchphrase of the moment, instantly emblazoned on T-shirts and ballcaps.

    Facebook groups popped up to laud Isom, who yoinked the book from David Grisham, director of Repent Amarillo, a group that crusades against promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christians.

    Grisham’s group was outnumbered Sunday at Sam Houston Park by counter protesters from the Unitarian Universalist Church carrying signs saying “Love Thy Neighbor.”

    But no one knew how to stop the burning until Isom took matters – and the book – into his own hands.

    Left with only lighter fluid, Grisham wandered out of the park, jeered by protesters holding up crosses.

    Isom gave the Koran he rescued to a local imam.

  4. ot

    Plugging away trying to get the BBC to have Prof Cole on World service to address the situation in Pakistan. Hope folks will contact BBC and ask them to have Prof Cole on.

    If it were not for Prof Cole and occasionally the BBC we would not be hearing anything about the tragedy in Pakistan

  5. It’s tempting to think of the demonstrators who have bought into Taliban propaganda as ignorant peasants, until you remember Palin, Beck, Murdoch and the Tea Party.

  6. Discussion of the actual relationship between Islam and Al Queda leads to another question, one that I think is intensely important: who is stoking these fires? Who is whipping up animosity towards Islam? Who has an interest in ensuring that the American people fear Islam?

    There is a government with a massive vested interest in encouraging this fear, and it’s leaders openly propagate such views: “Islam is our biggest security threat”, says Netanyahu. Not Palestinian nationalists, not Arab nationalists, but Islam.

    And of course, according to this government, Islam is a threat not just to Israel, but to the world.

    Note that it’s not Iranians who are a threat; it’s Islam.

    This government openly fans the flames of anti-Islamism every chance it gets. Are there talking points distributed by persons in this government’s employ to ensure that innocuous subjects like the New York mosque are spun to create the greatest sensation possible?

    They certainly have every interest in doing so, as their economic lives depend on it. The minute the United States no longer fears Islam, the wonderful spigot delivering F-35’s, tanks, guns, and bombs to Israel would be cut off, or at least cut back. They have a desperate, existential motivation for ensuring that the hatred continues.

    With that motivation, is there any chance that their security services do not conceive and execute operations that would encourage anti-Islamism in the world?

    This anti-Islamism in the United States has practically materialized out of thin air- 9/11 or no 9/11. There is every reason to believe there is a significant force behind it.

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