Related topics

U.S. Envoy: Abuse in Iraq Was a Crime

February 19, 2006

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ The top U.S. envoy for public diplomacy said Sunday the abuse of prisoners in Iraq was a crime and did not reflect U.S. policies in the Middle East.

In an interview with the Dubai based pan-Arab telecasting giant Al-Arabiya, Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes said the U.S. should not be judged by the actions of a few.

``These are horrible crimes and they are a violation of our laws and our policies. They do not represent the United States, and the president made it clear that we expect all prisoners to be treated with respect and in a humane way,″ Hughes said.

Hughes arrived in Dubai, one of the seven Emirates, on Sunday after a two-day visit to Doha Qatar, where she attended the U.S.-Islamic World Forum and implored regional leaders to wipe out terrorism.

Hughes also spoke out at the forum against caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that have sparked protests across the Muslim world but she condemned the violence that has broken out during demonstrations, leaving at least 45 people dead.

``Many American newspapers chose not to reprint the cartoons depicting the Prophet because they recognize they are deeply offensive, even blasphemous to the precious convictions of our Muslim friends and neighbors,″ Hughes said Saturday.

The cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September and have been reprinted by other Western publications, have outraged Muslims because Islam widely holds that representations of Muhammad are banned for fear they could lead to idolatry.

But protests over the past three weeks have grown into a broader anger against the West in general, and Israel and the United States in particular.

Hughes accused extremists of using the cartoon controversy to ignite a clash of civilizations.

She also welcomed changes in the Middle East including Syria’s withdrawal of troops from Lebanon after more than two decades, municipal elections in Saudi Arabia and women gaining the right to vote in Kuwait.

``Throughout the world today, brave leaders...are challenging the status quo, advocating change, seeking to unleash that most powerful force of human freedom to make their societies more just, more honest, more open, more accountable,″ said Hughes.

Al-Arabiya conducted a lengthy interview with Hughes but only broadcast a brief excerpt early Monday.

Hughes’ message to the Islamic world at the forum on Saturday was clear _ terrorism must end.

``We know from their own statements and writings that the extremists’ real agenda is take over one or more of the proud nation states in the Islamic world and impose a super-state in which violent extremists would dictate the fate of millions,″ she said. ``We must do for terror what was done to slavery and make it an international pariah.″

Update hourly