U.S. General Apologizes for Desecration of Koran
By ANDREW E. KRAMER
BAGHDAD — A day after the American military confirmed a soldier had used a Koran for target practice at a shooting range, the commander of United States troops in Baghdad apologized to local leaders and tribal sheiks, saying he was asking for their forgiveness.
Responding quickly to an incident ripe with the potential to stoke unrest, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond also read a letter of apology from the soldier, who was not identified.
“I come before you here seeking your forgiveness,” General Hammond said at the meeting, in remarks carried by CNN. “In the most humble manner, I look in your eyes today and I say please forgive me and my soldiers.”
General Hammond quoted a letter from the soldier, saying, “I sincerely hope that my actions have not diminished the partnership that our two nations have developed together.” Another American . officer kissed a Koran and gave it to the tribal leaders, according to news agency reports.
An American military statement called the desecration of a Koran in Radhwaniya, south of the Baghdad airport, “serious and deeply troubling” and said the soldier had been disciplined and sent out of Iraq. Iraqi police found the Koran perforated with bullet holes after American forces withdrew from the area.
That's not good. No no. Not good. The Times reports: