BAGHDAD — An American sniper was removed from Iraq after he used a copy of the Quran for target practice, the military said Sunday, a day after a U.S. commander held a formal ceremony apologizing to Sunni tribal leaders.
The elaborate ceremony — in which one U.S. officer kissed a new copy of Islam's holy book before giving it to the tribal leaders — reflected the military's eagerness to stave off anger among Sunni Arabs it has been cultivating as allies.
The tribesmen have become key in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq militants, who depict the American forces as anti-Islamic occupiers. One anti-U.S. Iraqi Sunni group condemned the Quran shooting, calling it "a hideous act." Similar perceived insults to Islam have triggered protests throughout the Muslim world.