Gitmo prisoners denied Bibles, but are given Obama’s books


Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg is one of the few media members that extensively covers Guantanamo Bay and the prisoners stationed there. She recently tweeted out the photo featured here, taken in the Gitmo library for detainees, which shows off the fact that their selection of books includes President Barack Obama’s books. Rosenberg reports six copies of his books are available.

However, the United States government has a say in what books are stocked in the library, and while detainees can read President Obama’s books or get a copy of the Koran, there is one book they will not allow on the library shelves: the Bible.

In 2005, one of the Gitmo detainees, Saifullah Paracha, requested a copy of the Bible to read, along with the works of Shakespeare. Paracha’s request was denied, even after his lawyer mailed a brand new copy to the Gitmo chaplain requesting that it be given to him. A government lawyer told him the Bible “violated prison policy.”

Paracha filed suit against the government to get a copy of the Bible and other books. In response to the lawsuit, the government claimed they could ban any books that would “incite” prisoners. The government finally did allow the Shakespeare plays into the library, but the Bible remains banned.

About Victor Medina

Victor Medina is a freelance writer based in Dallas. He is the editor of, and his other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, and He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. He is a member of the leadership team of the Cafe con Leche Republicans. You can follow him on his blog, or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at