‘Today’ Fans Iraq Rumor Flames?

By Brian 

“NBC’s ‘Today’ show aired unsubstantiated claims on Tuesday that U.S. troops had desecrated the Quran on at least two occasions,” NewsMax hypes. Richard Engel reported on rumors, spread by Al Jazeera and local newspapers, that U.S. Marines “kicked a Quran and then took it and spray painted in black paint a cross right on top of the Quran.”

Syndicated talk radio host Laura Ingraham was outraged: “We have an NBC reporter repeating rumors that are clearly being spread by terrorists to inflame sectarian violence in Iraq and to start a civil war,” she yelled… (Via FTVLive)

> Update: 3:49pm: The full transcript of Engel’s report is posted after the jump…

ENGEL: “Good morning, Matt. People here are not surprised at all. There are many rumors both in Iraq and across the Arab and even wider Muslim world that this kind of thing happens regularly. Just to give you an example, there’s one rumor spreading today. It’s been in local newspapers, it’s been in–on the local television and was also broadcast on the Al Jazeera ter–television network. And it’s that US sol–US Marines while were raiding a mosque in Ramadi, or near Ramadi, that they kicked a Quran and then took it and spray painted in–in black paint a cross right on top of the Quran. And, of course, the military quickly came out and denied this. But it is only one of many stories that people on the ground generally believe. Anoth–another one that came out a couple of weeks ago was in a local newspaper. It said that during a search of a woman’s bag US soldiers with a team of dogs, were sniffing through her bag. She had a Quran in the bag. The dog pulled the–the–the Muslim holy book out of the bag with its mouth and that the soldiers started laughing. And there was again a popular reaction against this and a no sense if that story ever happened at all. But the–the fallout is that people defiantly believe on the ground that this is not a war on terrorism. That at some level the US administration, through the US military, is carrying out a war against Islam.”