Blog Archive

Blog Archive – September, 2008

Remember the Prisoners in Your Prayers

September 01, 2008

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

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Ramadan Kareem.

For those of us who are students, or working in education, journalism, the tourism business, travel, today marks a change of routine. For Muslims, it is a welcome day that begins the month of spiritual contemplation, study, and communion with the ummah, the community of Islam.

In my prayers, I remember first and foremost the prisoners.

Prisoners everywhere, whatever their religion, whatever their past transgressions, their innocence, their claims, they are denied the brotherhood and sisterhood and family essential to human life and growth and hope. It is an especially difficult hardship at this time. Among those captives, I remember those fellow Muslims held illegally by US authorities. As an American citizen, I must accept some responsibility. And shame.

No one is unaware of the inhumanity carried out on these men and women, treatment that disgusts us, baffles us, shames us, in its obscenity and venality. The news, images and testimonies have exposed for all the world to witness, the ugly underbelly of America, the hypocrisy, and the deeply entrenched racism, now directed overwhelmingly towards Muslims. Hundreds have been summarily deported from their US homes.

Human rights organizations and foreign governments have come forward in the defense of caged men like those in the Guantanamo Bay prison. Some of those released like Sami Al-Hajj, Mozaaem Beg and former Muslim Chaplain James Yee provide testimonies about the injustices. In the US itself, the treatment of political prisoner Sami Al-Arian undermines confidence in the US justice system.

So many others need our attention. Tens of thousands. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, the US federal prisons, and secret facilities across the world. Almost every Palestinian man has experienced Israeli inflicted imprisonment.

I have no doubt, many of these souls are really subjects of mind-experiments, a fact that will eventually be revealed. They are not tormented for their confessions. They are hostages in a secret study of Islamic belief. What makes these believers so strong, so able to resist all of our brutality, to hold their dignity intact? Given what we hear about the many psychological problems and suicides of US combatants, yes, some would want to compare. That is not their aim however. No these confinements are likely a deranged kind of experiment. The authorities seek to develop ways they can further attack and undermine the faith. Think about it: seven years of torture! Guantanamo, in other words, is nothing less than an experimental laboratory. Am I too cynical?

Not at all. Because faith fundamentally is about Allah, God, not the human vessel of divinity.

[ Remember the Prisoners in Your Prayers ]


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