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 US Government: No Bibles, Koran ok

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WASHINGTON · At the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, everyone gets a Quran, but no one gets a Bible.
Saifullah Paracha, a 58-year-old former Pakistani businessmen with alleged ties to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, has been in U.S. custody since 2003. Like the other inmates at Guantanamo, he has a copy of the Quran. But he also wants an English translation of the King James version of the Bible.

Paracha believes that because the Bible is one of the scriptures accepted in Islam, he is entitled to a copy to read in his small wire-mesh cell. But after his lawyer shipped him a Bible, along with two volumes of Shakespeare, prison officials confiscated the package.

Paracha's American lawyer filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, demanding that Paracha be given the Bible and copies of Hamlet and Julius Caesar. The government responded that certain books are kept from prisoners because they could "incite" them.

Whether Bible or Quran, prayer might seem appropriate for Paracha. The allegations against him are grave.


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