Marine Corps clarifies “don’t pee towards Mecca” stories

by Jack Minor –

The Marine Corps has said a recent news story about Marines being told not to pee towards Mecca does not reflect Corps training or doctrine.

The North County Times recently reported a story on Marines at Camp Pendleton being trained prior to  deploying to Afghanistan.

The report mentioned that one of the trainers, Shafiq Mubarak, from the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (COACL), told the Marines that in order to avoid offending Muslims in Afghanistan; they should not urinate towards Mecca.

“Mubarak also said the Marines should never spit or urinate to the west, the direction of Mecca that Muslims in Afghanistan face when they pray,” the article said. “In addition, when sharing a base with Afghan army troops, Marines shouldn’t sleep with their feet pointed west, because that also is considered offensive.”

Following the story, several articles appeared on the Internet criticizing what was perceived as political correctness run amok. Columnist Diana West wrote, “When Marines learn not to excrete in the direction of Mecca – home of the black cube known as the Kaaba – and not to sleep with their boots toward Mecca, what are they really learning?”

West continued, “They are learning to become intensely sensitized to the whereabouts of Mecca; how to be guided by that magnetic north for Muslims as a matter of the most personal habits and hygiene, all in accordance with Shariah (Islamic law). They are learning to act like Muslims.”

Lt. Col. George Robinson, Operations Officer for COACL, told the Gazette Mubarak’s statements do not represent Marine Corps doctrine. According to Robinson, the Marine Corps has not issued any type of instruction involving where Marines are to spit or urinate.

“Mubarak is a private contractor, and an Afghanistan civilian. He was simply expressing a personal opinion regarding his dealings with locals,” Robinson said. “The training is simply meant for Marines to learn about the area from trainers using personal anecdotes.”

Robinson said “One of the trade-offs when you use a native Afghan is, there is a little bit of color there.” He went on to say the academics who prepare the training materials would likely come out saying there is no theological basis for providing information similar to Mubarak’s to the Marines. “Will an Islamic scholar agree with him? I don’t know, perhaps some will, some won’t.”

‘I’m not hung up on which way Marines want to urinate. Of all the things that are going to guide a Marine’s behavior, nothing we are providing to them in terms of understanding Afghan culture is a set of rules they have to abide by.” Robinson noted that some of the tips provided are “not practical to use in their daily activities because of the security posture they are required to take. All they have to worry about is keeping their weapons at the ready” while in the field.

“It’s not a portion of our program of instruction, but I won’t say there is no value in it either.” Robinson said it could be helpful to at least be aware of what may offend some Muslims.

Critics of Mubarak’s statements feel the training is an extension of an actual directive advising troops on how to handle the Qur’an.

The directive, COIN Advisory #20100924-001, titled “Religious Importance of the Qur’an” advises troops to be careful to avoid offending Muslims when handling the Qur’an or other religious items.

The advisory states, “Every complete copy, or even a partial passage, is considered holy. It is considered culturally insensitive for any non-Muslim to touch a copy of the Qur’an.”

The report goes on to warn, “Additionally, verbal disrespect for Islam and/or the Qur’an is considered as inappropriate as physical desecration of the Qur’an. Insulting the Qur’an is an act of blasphemy.”

In many Islamic countries, a Christian that simply shares the Christian  faith with a Muslim is considered to have insulted Islam. Such offenses are punishable by death under blasphemy laws.

There have also been several instances in the United States where Muslims have attempted to use the legal system to prohibit “insulting Islam.”

Christians in Dearborn, Michigan were arrested after attempting to peacefully engage in a dialogue with Muslims at a family festival meeting open to the general public. In Kansas, a pastor was arrested for sharing his faith with Muslims on a sidewalk outside of a local mosque.

Recently, Muslims have used intimidation to shut down several conferences critical of Islam, including one in Nashville after a hotel said they had received threats of violence.

The COIN advisory recommends that soldiers never handle a Qur’an or other religious items. Soldiers are also told that, “If you must search a location or person’s belongings, ask them if they have a Qur’an or religious item present. If so, ask them to remove it or put it in a suitable place before conducting the search.”

Soldiers  who may conduct a canine search are told to be even more sensitive to Muslim feelings. “Your level of sensitivity must be even greater when conducting canine searches. Having an animal anywhere near a Qur’an or other religious artifact is considered highly disrespectful.”

Robinson acknowledged the COIN advisory, but said the training the Marines received was not on that level. “The training by Mr. Mubarak is very far away from that. This was just one instructor’s tips to Marines as they were headed into harm’s way.”

Mubarak has spent several years working for both the Army and Marine Corps in Afghanistan. “He certainly loves the Marines and wants to prepare them the best he can for the challenges they are going to face while they are over there,” Robinson said. “But it is not an official policy by any stretch, nor is it part of our official program of instruction.”

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7 Responses to Marine Corps clarifies “don’t pee towards Mecca” stories

  1. Doug says:

    It is not so much a matter of East or West as it is a matter of in which direction the wind is blowing.

  2. JT says:

    So let’s imagine that Islam is a fancy word for Occult, and each of our troops was given training to not offend occultist and to treat their ‘religious’ objects with great respect. Sounds like we would be asking our troups to bow to the golden calf….

    just sayin’…

  3. Quote.

    Asalaam Alaykum. Isa howa Allah. Isa howa el Masseh.

    Here are some specific references from the Koran that are used to justify Blasphemy against Jesus the Christ and brutality against Christians; The literal execution, death and murder for the “crime” of Shirk or idolatry (see Sura IX: 1- 17, 29 – 31, 36). Three are marked with an asterisk and one specifically refers to those who believe in the Holy Trinity (see Sura IV: 171) .
    End Quote.


  4. Bob says:

    Well, Mr. Mubarak is correct. This can be very helpful for our troops on the ground. Our troops must be equipped and should aware of almost everything, so that they can easily do their jobs. Simple, this Macca instruction can save and will save lives.


  5. tell the raghead to go piss up a tree. our Marines can pee anywhere they want

  6. MrSpock says:

    @ Bob,

    It is one thing to simply inform the troop about the culture, but it is quite another when you tell them they need to follow the dictates of that religion.

    This was the same mentatlity when I served in Desert Storm where American troops were forbidden from having any religious symbols, including Bibles inside of our own base because it was on Saudi Arabian soil. If a soldier desired to get baptized they had to do it in private and chaplains were not allowed to wear crosses on their collar which was part of their uniform.

    Why stop there. Muslims are offended by women in positions of power. So let’s make sure there are no women deployed over there either. For that matter since dogs are offensive to Muslims, let’s make sure we never ever use service dogs for any reason, even if it saves American lives.

    After all, if we are in the businesss of worrying about not offending the enemy, why would be hypocrites if we didn’t go all the way. We can even support them by shutting down all the schools for women and help them enforce blasphemy laws against Christians and anyone else who is not a Muslim. We can even offer to help in the beheadings to show we do not want to offend them with any of our Western beliefs.

  7. T.Paine says:

    My toilet is facing mecca…and after reading this, my a.m. ”constitutional” will have a ”special” meaning.

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