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Guantanamo: I Laughed, Then Cried

I was reading the newspaper when I came across the headline, “Guantanamo Bay Prisoner Sues U.S. to Get a Bible.” I laughed so hard while reading this article because it seemed so ridiculous that a prisoner would have to sue our government in order to be able to read the Bible. Our “moral values” government told the prisoner that the Bible might “incite” him. However, when I realized how insane our policies have become and that we are becoming the laughingstock of the world, it made me sick.

Saifullah Paracha was designated an enemy combatant and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. The government says he is a terrorist; he says he is not. At any rate, every detainee is entitled to a copy of the Koran. This he got.

His lawyer, Gaillard T. Hunt, met with his client in September and found out that Paracha had requested a Bible. Hunt said:

"From my general knowledge, I knew that the Bible (the Old and New Testaments) is accepted in Islam as one of their holy texts, so I intepreted this as a religious request."

So, Hunt purchased a Bible, and sent it, together with Shakespeare's Hamlet and Julius Caesar, to the prison, asking that they be delivered to Paracha. When Hunt returned in October he found that neither the Shakespeare volumes nor the Bible were given to the prisoner.

OK, Shakespeare is terrible. But the Bible? Our extreme right and righteous government did not want a prisoner to have a Bible? How ridiculous can things get?

So Paracha sued the government - in order to get a copy of the Bible! Hilarious!

The government responded that certain books were kept from prisoners because they could "incite" them. By this time I was in stitches. The Bible will "incite" the prisoner? How? To do what?

I laughed, laughed and laughed......until I realized how this administration is asphyxiating our system of justice. Then I cried.

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 22, 2005 5:34 PM