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"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 05.08.2019)

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"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

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“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

"We are more alike than we are different"v  Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

Remember the Prisoners in Your Prayers

2008-09-01

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.

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