In a letter to his Afghan counterpart, President Barack Obama has apologised for the burning of copies of the Qur’an by US troops in Bagram. Afghans have been demonstrating for days against the latest violation of the holy Islamic book. A Dutch defence trainer says teaching soldiers about the sensitivities between different cultures would be better than an apology.
“This doesn’t do anyone any good, you cannot change what has happened,” says Dutch major Niels Roelen in response to news reports that Afghan rebels have killed foreigners. Mr Roelen has been deployed to the war-torn country in the past; nowadays, he teaches new recruits.
“We speak to someone at the mosque who can tell us about their religion, what the do’s and dont’s are and what the sensitivities are. The value a book like the Qur’an has for these people and that you must show respect for this.”