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Report of Koran desecration at Gitmo prompts Afghan riots; 4 killed

[JURIST] Riots erupted across Afghanistan Wednesday in response to a recent report by Newsweek magazine that in an effort to infuriate Muslim prisoners US troops at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Koran by placing copies on toilets and in one case had even flushed a copy down a latrine. Insulting the Koran is blasphemy to Muslime and is currently punished by the death penalty in Pakistan and Afghanistan itself. In the conservative Muslim city of Jalalabad Afghan security forces were unable to contain thousands of rioters [Reuters report] and opened fire, killing four and wounding 52. Rioters set Afghan government officials on fire, destroyed UN buildings, ransacked businesses, and burned US flags along with pictures of George Bush and US-backed Afghan President Hamid Karzai. On a visit to NATO [official website] headquarters in Brussels Wednesday, Karzai praised progress made in Afghanistan, but told reporters later that the riots were evidence that Afghan security forces were still unable to handle protests without the assistance of foreign troops. Reuters has more.

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