G. Mistreatment of the Koran

Thirty-one FBI agents told the OIG they were aware of allegations regarding disrespectful statements, handling, or actions involving the Koran at GTMO.138 However, the only two agents who said they personally witnessed such an incident during an interrogation were the SSAs who reported the incident with detainee Al-Qahtani, as previously described in Chapter Five. The remaining witnesses reported allegations they heard, mainly from detainees, of guards disrespecting the Koran in noninterrogation contexts, such as during cell searches.

Several agents identified a particular detainee, Ghassan Abdullah Al-Sharbi (#682), as having complained about disrespectful treatment of the Koran. According to these agents, Al-Sharbi claimed that the Koran would sometimes be knocked on the ground during detainee cell searches and that guards handled it disrespectfully. One agent told us that Al-Sharbi said that the simple act of a non-Muslim handling a Koran was considered inappropriate, which sometimes resulted in detainees being encouraged by block-mates to throw water or urine on the MPs. AI-Sharbi told the agent that a compromise was reached in which detainees would flip through their Korans while the MP watched to ensure nothing was hidden inside. Then the detainee would put the Koran down while the MP searched the rest of his cell. Other agents reported similar claims by detainees that military personnel had mistreated the Koran. We did not find any allegations or evidence that any FBI agents mistreated a Koran.


138. We are not aware of any military interrogation policy that explicitly addressed conduct designed to provoke a detainee by showing disrespect to a religion or religious item, although it is possible to characterize such conduct as part of a "pride and ego down" or "futility" technique.

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