NATO Denies Desecrating Koran…Again

A protest in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan was inspired by a claim that international troops “destroyed copies of the Koran.”  NATO said one person was killed–a sniper targeted by coalition forces–while Afghan officials reported six deaths.

As reported on al Jazeera,

Residents in Garmsir district of Helmand province on Tuesday said that Nato-led forces raided a house in the area on Sunday and destroyed copies of the holy book in a local mosque… 

Habibullah Jan, [a] protester said: “We have proof that they destroyed our holy Quran. We can show them to [President Hamid] Karzai’s government or the foreign forces.”

As it did following a similar protest in October, NATO denied that the alleged event occurred.

A NATO spokesman denied that the foreign troops desecrated any copies of Islam’s holy book in Sunday’s operation with Afghan forces in Garmsir. Lt. Nico Melendez said no shots were fired, and no property was damaged.

“We take such allegations very seriously and would support a combined investigation with local Afghan authorities,” he said

As noted elsewhere, adversaries in the Middle East and Asia have waged an effective information campaign against NATO and allied Western nations, as the allies have been quick to show their propensity for non-offensiveness and political sensitivity.  The Taliban and their ilk likely realize that accusations such as this will not only arouse local anger, but they will also inspire Western hand-wringing (and possibly even Koran-kissing).

Perhaps a reminder is due that a cherished human liberty is religious freedom, a freedom that does not protect people from religious offense–it guarantees one will be religiously offended (despite UN resolutions to the contrary).  While sensitivity toward Islam has a tactical purpose in Afghanistan, it may be a strategic flaw.