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Homeland Security

12 May 2005

Rice Condemns Alleged Disrespect of Quran at Guantanamo Base

Secretary promises "appropriate action" if allegations are proven true


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned alleged acts of disrespect for the holy Quran by U.S. military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay and promised "appropriate action" if the allegations are proven to be true.

"Disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States.  We honor the sacred books of all the world's great religions.  Disrespect for the Holy Koran is abhorrent to us all," Rice said in a statement she delivered before testifying in Congress May 12.

Following is the transcript of Rice's statement:

(begin transcript)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
May 12, 2005

REMARKS

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
On Respect for the Holy Koran
Before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State,
Foreign Operations and Related Programs

May 12, 2005
Washington, D.C.

(2:20 p.m. EDT)

Mr. Chairman, before I begin my actual testimony, I want to speak directly to Muslims in America and throughout the world.  Disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States.  We honor the sacred books of all the world's great religions.  Disrespect for the Holy Koran is abhorrent to us all.

There have been recent allegations about disrespect for the Holy Koran by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay and that has deeply offended many people.  Our military authorities are investigating these allegations fully.  If they are proven true, we will take appropriate action.  Respect for the religious freedom of all individuals is one of the founding principles of the United States.  The protection of a person's right to worship freely and without harassment is a principle that the government and the people of the United States take very seriously.  Guaranteeing religious rights is of great personal importance to the President and to me.

During the past few days, we have heard from our Muslim friends around the world about their concerns on this matter.  We understand and we share their concerns.  Sadly, some people have lost their lives in violent demonstrations.  I am asking that all our friends around the world reject incitement to violence by those who would mischaracterize our intentions.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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