Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth

"Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor" (Exodus 16).  "So Then, Putting Away Falsehood, Let All of Us Speak the Truth to our Neighbors, for We Are All Members of One Another." (Ephesians 4:25), "They Try to Deceive Allah and Those Who Believe, But They Only Deceive Themselves, and Realize it Not." (Qur'aan 2:9)

"The Important Thing is, Not to Stop Questioning" – Albert Einstein
 

Contact | Home

 

 

 


In the Nazi
 Concentration Camps


 

 



Moazzam Begg will be my radio guest on Monday, October 15th, 2007, 4-6 p.m CT, http://www.gcnlive.com network 2

-Kevin Barrett

Moazzam Begg: The Best of Times



Cageprisoners.com

I first read the Dickens’ classic, Bleak House, in solitary confinement, Camp Echo. The concentric part of this story is based on the fictitious – though accurately representative – and never-ending case of Jarndyce vs Jarndyce which ultimately consumes and destroys the lives of it’s central characters, rather like the Supreme court decisions relating to the Guantánamo detainees. But it was the first sentence of another Dicken’s classic, A Tale of Two Cities, which reads, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’ that captured my imagination back then. For that is precisely how I would have described the noble months of Ramadhan spent in US custody.  

It was the night before the festival of Eid ul-Adha that I was sent from Pakistani custody into US custody at Kandahar. After the brutal initiation of being processed like an animal and locked in a cage made of razor wire, I couldn’t believe my ears when a visitor from the Red Cross was wandering around the cells, with an army escort, handing out small pieces of meat and cold bread to detainees, uttering the words, ‘Eid Mubarak’.  

That was the first Eid my family ever spent without me. Another five (both Eids of al-Adha and al-Fitr) were to pass before I saw them again. For most people in Guantánamo, it is approaching ten of these blessed days over a period of five years, dwelling in cages. And still they pray for deliverance.  

However, the worst Ramadan I’ve ever had in my life was not in Guantánamo; that happened in Bagram – the US detention facility in Afghanistan. This was a place where already torture, humiliation and degradation of detainees regularly occurred. We were not allowed to talk, we were not allowed to walk or exercise without permission. We were not given access to natural light–or dark. We had to guess prayer times and were not allowed to pray in jama’ah (congregation), call the athaan or recite the Quran out loud. I had to make tayyamum (dry ablution) for a year and had forgotten how to make wudhu correctly by the time I arrived in Guantánamo, since water could only be used to drink, but not for wudhu (ablution). Anyone failing to comply with these rules was unceremoniously dragged to the front of the cell, their wrists shackled to the top of the cage and a black hood placed over the head. It happened to us all – sometimes for hours on end.  

When Ramadhan came I was already dreading it. I think we were all dreading it. There were no hot meals or drinks for us in Bagram. Fresh vegetables were a luxury we were not afforded. Fresh fruit was a rarity. There was none of the food we all so lovingly prepare and indulgingly consume during this month of abstention in our homes. There were no snacks between meals or keeping food until later: everything had to be handed back within 15 minutes – eaten or not. The meals were small pre-packed sachets, the types used for campers, and, sometimes, a mouldy piece of Afghan bread thrown in for good measure.  

There was no Taraweeh prayer, no Eid prayer. In fact there was no Jumu’ah (Friday congregational prayer). The detainees in Bagram and Guantánamo shortened every prayer not only as a mercy from Allah, but as a refusal to accept any permanence of incarceration, even though that was–and continues to be–a looming reality. It was a defiant rejection of imprisonment without charge or trial – a fact unnoticed and quite irrelevant to our captors.  

As if to punish us for the very arrival of Ramadhan we were given only two meals: the suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and iftaar (sunset meal), the latter being given to us often four hours after sunset. On the day of Eid ul-Fitr we did not feast and make merry like most of the Muslim world. Instead we were made to fast from dawn to near midnight when we were finally given a food sachet. One of the guards, a young female to whom I used to speak often about Islam, history and literature was appalled by this and gave me some of her own food, at real risk to herself. It is a gesture I will never forget, but she was a rarity.  

That was the worst of times. But it wasn’t over. I spent the following Ramadhan alone, in solitary confinement. In truth, I hated the approach of this Ramadhan too. I knew the outlook was bleak. I had to imagine how my family were passing this month and the festival that followed. It is a month of blessing, extra prayer, sharing, inviting others to meals; a month of anticipating celebrations with family and friends who, for me and many others, were both only a distant memory by then. I thought of all the Islamic rulings about fasting and how it all seemed rather immaterial here. In fact I could have not fasted, since I was shortening my prayer – hence I had the status of a traveller, albeit a coerced one. But I think fasting was a pronounced difference between us and them, and act of defiance too.

The concept of abstaining completely from food as well as drink from dawn to dusk was as alien to most burger-eating, fries-munching, Budweiser-drinking yanks as American justice was for us. Even the practicing Christian soldiers, who often read the Bible in front of me, couldn’t comprehend that the fast of the Muslim was like the fast of the Prophets, not the fast of Lent during which some devotees choose to refrain from having mushrooms on their pizza as a personal sacrifice to the Almighty. I remember telling a guard that in fact he ‘fasted’ every day, although his timings were different: the break-fast meal every morning. He still didn’t get it.

After the passing of this Ramadhan in seclusion, with no contact from another Muslim for close to two years, I was longing, praying and agitating that the next one will be spent in the company of Muslims – even one Muslim. My prayer was finally answered. And thus, my final Ramadhan and Eid were both spent in the company of the world’s most dangerous terrorists (according to Bush) and the world’s finest examples of patience and fortitude (according to me).  

Some guards ridiculed the athaan when the muezzin’s voice echoed around Guantánamo – particularly at sunset, when it clashed with the US national anthem that simultaneously rung out on loud speakers. What followed was a daily reminder to us all about our [soldiers and prisoners] purpose in life: one group – the one dressed in khaki–stopped in their tracks, stood in the direction of their flag, raised their right hands and saluted their object of their devotion: the US flag. The other group –the one dressed in orange – also stopped in their tracks, stood facing east and raised both their hands to salute their object of their devotion: the Unseen God and Lord of the Worlds.  

During the day, despite the intense tropical Caribbean heat, we recited and memorised the Quran, had debates on any subject from medieval African history to Hubble’s expanding universe theory; from the Islamic ruling on captives to the latest Western methods of capturing them. We exercised vigorously, many of us far surpassing the physical capabilities of the full time soldiers guarding us. Some of us controlled our anger and antipathy towards the guards during this month and offered smiles and kind words, when the opposite would have been expected. That too was an act of defiance.  

The greatest defiance, to me at least, was wishing each other ‘hanee-an maree-an’ (bon appetite) at iftaar. It was also the spontaneous breaking out into anasheed (Islamic songs) in Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, Farsi, Uighur, Turkish and yes, even English; it was the recitation of poetry and prose in verses that could not have been compiled anywhere on earth but Guantánamo – the prison of the enemy where captive Muslims brought the first ever call to prayer; it was the individual calls of as-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmat Ullahi wa barakaatuh ya Abdullah (May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you, O servant of Allah) emanating from cell blocks with invisible faces – faces that showered us with concern The concept of abstaining completely from food as well as drink from dawn to dusk was as alien to most burger-eating, fries-munching, Budweiser-drinking yanks as American justice was for us. Even the practicing Christian soldiers, who often read the Bible in front of me, couldn’t comprehend that the fast of the Muslim was like the fast of the Prophets, not the fast of Lent during which some devotees choose to refrain from having mushrooms on their pizza as a personal sacrifice to the Almighty. I remember telling a guard that in fact he ‘fasted’ every day, although, hope and love, even though we couldn’t see them.  

But there was an act of defiance even more potent. It was more powerful than throwing liquid cocktails at the soldiers, stronger than lashing out with shackled hands towards them or calling them himaar (donkey) or khanzeer (pig), even stronger than the hunger-strikes that nearly claimed the lives of many a brave man. It was the prayer. It was the du’aa (supplication) to Allah of the Imam reverberating, alone, amidst the chimes of razor wire rubbing against barbed wire impelled by a soft sea breeze. It was saying ‘Ameen’, in unison to a prayer we all wanted answered. It was the tears we all shed, in the knowledge that each of us had a reason to weep. It was the sadness that was almost sweet. It was our ultimate symbol of defiance. It was the best of times.   

This article was first published on Cageprisoners.com last Ramadhan, in October 2006.  



Please Support MUJCA-NET
MUJCA-NET needs your support. We are a non-profit organization and the scale of our activities depends entirely on your generosity. We would like to get copies of David Griffin's two 9/11 books (see above) into the hands of every religious leader in America. And we would like to push 9/11 truth onto the front pages of every newspaper in America. But we can't do it without your help. If you would like to donate to MUJCA-NET, click here.

TOP

 

 

About Us | Contact Us | ©2005 Khidria