It is now clear that the Photos of Abu Ghraib are being withheld because they are inhuman and barbaric, reminding people of the dark ages of Europe. They are being withheld because their release, in the words of senior military officials would inflame the sentiments of the Muslim world and put our soldiers in danger. The images, that our President is trying to censor include images of rape and sexual abuse.
In one picture a US soldier is seen raping a female prisoner and in another a male translator is shown raping a male detainee.
At least one picture shows the use of truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube as objects of sexual abuse. Yet another image shows a female prisoner being forced to expose her breast.
These revelations come from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. He disclosed these details in interview with the Daily Telegraph. There are at least 2,000 censored photographs.
Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President's decision, adding: "These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency ... The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it."
The presence of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and censoring these photos would make one wonder if such practices are still taking place and if our media is reporting them accurately. One really wonders if senior ranking military officials are trying to cover up sexual abuses. After all it took some five years before one learned about these photos showing rape.
The publication of these photos would mean that as a civilized nation we do not tolerate these things and we are ready to admit our mistakes and crimes openly. What was done in Abu Ghraib was systematic, organized and well orchestrated. Behind the torture, rape and torture were the feelings of revenge, fun and religious extremism. Obviously, if the fundamentalist chaplains were teaching the young army recruits that they were out to destroy the Satanic forces, you would not expect anything different from what the prison guard of Abu Ghraib did. There are strong reasons to believe that the policy originated from Washington, from those who wanted to impose their style of living upon the people Iraq.
If we censor these photos any longer, we would give the impression that we have a hidden agenda, an agenda to humiliate the Muslim world and create psychological terror in their hearts. We would give the impression that we have no respect for human dignity and we can go to any length to deal with those whom we deem our enemies.
What was done in Abu Ghraib was indecent and immoral and illegal from any definition. It was a war not only against a nation but against a religious community.
Our country must apologize to the civilized world that what was done was wrong. Not only that, but the likes of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld should be brought to the counter of justice.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor of the Detroit based English weekly, Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic Society of Nevada, Las Vegas and the recently elected General Secretary of the World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relation. He is also the vice President of the Muslim Council of America, MCA.
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