Harry Potter bewitches Guantanamo prisoners


Harry Potter has bewitched detainees at the United States prison at Guantanamo Bay, where tales of the young wizard and mysteries by Agatha Christie top the list of most popular books, a prison librarian said.

"Harry Potter is a popular title among some of the detainee population," said the librarian, a civilian contractor identified only as "Lorie" who works at the prison camp for foreign terrorism suspects at the US naval base in Cuba.


I am not sure this meets the believable filter, we have a bunch of far right and left wing extremist muslim nutcases, people willing to suicide bomb for their religion who are enjoying a lighthearted book about kids, and magic. The book contains so many themes that an extremist muslim would find wrong that I bet even the far right wing AFA would team up with them to censor, ban, chop, burn.While it is a cute story, I call male cow fecal matter.

You're assuming both that everyone there really is an "extremist muslim nutcase"--a fact most definitely not in evidence--and that, even if they are, that that's all they are. Very few people are that simple.

They're prisoners, they're cut off from family and friends, and leaving aside any controversy over actual conditions, even "country club" prisons aren't country clubs. At best, they're bored and need distraction. And remember, those among who really are extremist muslim nutcases think they're fighting evil, and Harry fights evil and wins.

And besides, I can't see any propaganda value to anyone in this story. If you're anti-adminstration and want to leak a story to humanize the prisoners, do you leak a story about how they're getting fun books to read? And if you're pro-administration and want to play up the idea that these are Very Bad People, do you leak a story about how they're all fans of Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and Harry Potter? No, sorry, I just don't see any reason for this story not to be true.

Other than the people they pulled out of Al-Queda training camps in the mountains of Afghanistan they may have those who are not extremist muslim. However, considering the reaction of the Christian Fundamentalists to Harry Potter and in light of the fact that these books are considering more offensive to a Muslim, I think it was created work, rather than a leak.Perhaps if this was the 1980's again I would have more faith in the press, but considering the level of ethics being practiced by the press being on par with accountants at Enron I cannot buy it. I can easily see how everyones natural tendancy toward ethnocentrism would make it heartwarming, but not realistic.

beh I am tired, ignore the abuse of grammar above and focus on what I meant to say :-)

I agree with you that the news media today would have no hesitation about running a fake story. But my point is that nobody who feels strongly enough to lie about what's going on at Gitmo has a motive to tell this particular story if it's a lie: it conveys too favorable an impression of conditions (they have ready access to popular fiction) for one side, and too human an impression of the prisoners themselves (they like the same kinds of popular fiction many of us do.)

The Christian Fundamentalists who are so outraged by Harry Potter are a tiny subset of Christians; even the story about the pope allegedly disapproving turned out to be mostly faked. Yeah, some Muslims disapprove of Harry Potter, just like some Christians do. They may even be a larger minority of Muslims than of Christians. That doesn't change the fact that there are Farsi and Arabic translations of Harry Potter because there is a substantial demand for Harry Potter in the overwhelmingly Muslim countries where Farsi and Arabic are spoken. Given all the evidence that there wasn't a real good job done of scooping up actual Muslim extremists to populate Gitmo, I see no reason to be especially skeptical of a story saying that the Rowling books are popular among the prisoners there.