Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: The most oppressed woman in the world

Imagine that you are a woman yet a qualified doctor, a hard working mother, independent yet a gentle individual. Imagine that you are also an MIT Graduate! Imagine that you have been involved in charity work especially for refugee children affected in the Bosnian war between 1992 and 1993. You would feel quite accomplished, would you not?

Now, imagine that 11 years ago you along with your children, including your 6 month-old baby, were abducted just outside of your house in the most horrifying manner! Imagine that you are then beaten up, separated from your children and for several years you are treated in such horrendous ways with no clue as to what wrong you committed nor with any access to your family members. Imagine that while in captivity you are sexually abused, mentally tortured and psychologically tormented. Imagine that your family is desperately searching for you and due to large amounts of pressure from an investigative journalist the world finds out about you but after years of torture you are instantly shifted from your present location and sent to a biased court whose judge has already made a decision before you are even allowed to defend yourself! Imagine that false evidence is put forward and despite your innocence being made clear & all the forensic evidence pointing to your innocence you are still found guilty of causing terror when infact you are yourself a victim of terror! Imagine that after all this horrendous ordeal you find yourself locked up in one of the most notorious jails in the world, cut off from your family permanently and are continuously raped, mentally tortured and tormented. Imagine that despite all that you have already suffered you are imprisoned for life! And, ironically all this while you are the one accused of being a terrorist! How would you feel? Honestly, how would you feel? I mean really, how would you feel? Betrayed, disgusted and heavily oppressed are just a few words that might come to mind.

You would think nobody especially such a highly educated woman and her children should go through such horrible torments but what if I were to tell you that this is exactly what happened in real life and while you are reading this, this nightmarish ordeal is a reality and is still on-going? But for one woman this did happen in reality and, this cruel torture is still going on even as you read this!

On 30th March 2003, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT Graduate, a mother of three and a holder of both American and Pakistani Citizenship was kidnapped from Karachi, Pakistan along with her three children including her then 6-month old baby. Her home was in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, Pakistan and she was going to catch a Taxi to catch a flight to Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport. To this very day, she remains sexually abused, cut off from her family and is being mentally tortured at one of the most notorious jails in the world and her youngest child, a 6-month old baby at the time of being kidnapped, is still missing to this very day. Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan under whose leadership several thousands of people with no links to terrorism or terrorist activities were literally sold-off to the American Government as part of the “war on terror”, himself said in December 2013 that he denied handing over Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the United States and calling whoever did so was a traitor. Atleast we all can agree that “handing over” of Dr. Aafia was indeed being treacherous, even though the way in which she was “handed over” is unarguably cruel and wrong. It is however interesting to note that Musharraf himself claimed in his book “In the line of fire” written almost a decade before his recent statement, that he was proud to have sold off people whom he referred to as “terrorists” off to the American Government.  Almost every single one of these “terrorists” actually has been proven to have no link to terrorism, and after decades of torture in Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Prison and other notorious prisons some have been released without having any charges against them and some are still imprisoned, with no access to a fair trial.

In February, 2010 Dr. Aafia’s eldest son returned to his family and described how, when he, his mother and siblings came out of their home, fifteen to twenty people, including a ‘white lady’ and members of the ISI (Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency), were waiting in three to four vehicles on the next street and subsequently kidnapped them. Dr. Aafia was placed into one black car and the crying children into another. Years later, Dr. Aafia’s lawyer Elaine Sharpe, described how Dr. Aafia’s 6 month old baby, Suleman, was believed to have been killed during the arrest. Dr. Aafia was later shown a picture of her baby (Suleman), lying in a pool of blood. It is not known if Suleman is still alive.

And the strangest thing is that no matter how many wikipedia articles you quote or how many left-wing media agencies you would like to search upon, it is rather pathetic and shameful to see that not once was Dr. Aafia Siddiqui actually charged with terrorism. The whole pretext upon which she and her children were actually kidnapped, tortured and harassed was a false pretext! As a matter of fact, according to several reliable Human Rights Organizations, Former Senior Government figures in both the United States & Pakistan and several prominent investigative journalists, Dr. Aafia had no links with terrorism. And that it was Dr. Aafia Siddiqui & her family who were actually the ones to be terrorized.

On the very day that Dr. Aafia & her children were kidnapped, Dr. Aafia’s mother, Ismet was threatened by a man wearing a bike helmet not to report Dr. Aafia’s disappearance. On March 31, 2003 it was reported by the Pakistani media that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui had been arrested and turned over to representatives of the United States. In early April, this was confirmed on NBC Nightly News, among other media outlets. On 21st April 2003, a “senior U.S. law enforcement official” told Lisa Myers of NBC Nightly News, that Dr. Aafia was indeed in Pakistani custody. The same source retracted the statement the next day without explanation.

Also in 2003, in a closed hearing when the FBI had subpoenaed some documents from Dr Aafia’s sister, an FBI official did confirm to her family that she was alive and well, but would answer no questions on her whereabouts.

However, these statements were changed and then the American Government claimed that between 2003 and 2008 that they had no clue where she was and claimed that she “mysteriously vanished”. Evidence however proves otherwise. Afterall, this was the same American Government under George W. Bush that claimed Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”. After 2 Million deaths in Iraq we know for sure that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction. And, reading below you would know quite clearly that neither did Dr. Aafia Siddiqui had anything remotely to do with terrorism but on the contrary was herself a victim of state terrorism.

A leading Human Rights Activist and award-winning British Journalist, Ms. Yvonne Ridley was the first to bring the plight of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the world’s attention via her documentary entitled “In search of Prisoner 650″. Prisoner 650 was a female prisoner locked up & tortured relentlessly in Bagram Airbase (an American Airbase & Prison) in Bagram, Afghanistan. Former Bagram Air Base Detainees pointed out that while they were detained at Bagram Air Base, they heard noises of a woman being tortured, she was known to them as prisoner 650. They also committed to 9-days of hunger strike to cause the tormentors to stop torturing prisoner 650. It was Ms. Yvonne Ridley who while making this documentary found out that this prisoner 650 was actually Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and that in the period between 2003-2008, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was indeed being tortured at Bagram Air Base, while her family was searching for her in Pakistan.

As if this much of suffering was not enough, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was taken to a court in New York after 5 years of relentless abuse and torture in Afghanistan. The only claim made against her was shooting at Interrogators while being interviewed and carrying booklets. Few people who actually have a know-how of counter terrorism believe a frail 5ft 3in, 40 kg woman could disarm a group of American soldiers; fewer still think she would be carrying bomb booklets, chemicals and target lists especially after 5 years of being relentlessly tortured.  What is even more awful is the fact that Dr. Aafia was reportedly put on an FBI “alert” list for questioning in March 2003 and a year later was placed by the US attorney general on a “most wanted” list of persons with alleged connections to Al-Qa’ida. However, when put on trial Dr. Aafia was not charged with any of these crimes. Not one of those, which is really very strange and peculiar. The obvious conclusion among several legal experts including the former Attorney General of USA, being that Dr. Aafia had after all no connections with Al Qaeda and had no links with terrorism whatsoever. This conclusion should itself make us stop and ponder. She was kidnapped along with her children, tortured, raped and thrown in jail for over 5 years before actually being put on trial on the pretext of war on terror when infact there was no proven connection to terrorism whatsoever neither before the trial nor after the trial!

As a matter of fact, even for the charge that was finally made against Dr. Aafia, there was no scientific or forensic evidence tying Dr. Aafia to the weapon she allegedly fired. There were no fingerprints found nor were there any ballistic residue (residue due to firing a bullet) found which according to a huge proportion of legal experts meant that Dr. Aafia did not fire any weapon and she was innocent of all crimes charged against her.

Amnesty International (the world’s leading human rights organization) along with many other prominent human rights organizations monitored the trial for fairness. And, the observers including four British Parliamentarians have clearly stated that the trial was a “grave miscarriage of justice”.  This was also the view of The International Justice Network (IJN), the Justice through Peace organization and several other high-profile legal organizations.

According to several legal observers, the trial of Dr. Aafia was littered with many inconsistencies and defects, chief among them being many rulings by the judge during this case, Judge Richard Berman, that strongly favored the prosecution and prejudiced the case against the defense. These ranged from allowing much hearsay evidence and jury instructions that favored the prosecution. In addition, Dr. Aafia was not represented by lawyers of her choosing and faced constant innuendos of terrorism when she was not charged with any such offense.

As a result of Judge Richard Berman’s framing of the case in a negative light, Dr Aafia was convicted despite ALL physical and forensic evidence that showed that she could not have committed the acts she was charged with. She was ultimately “sentenced” to 86 years in jail as if all that she and her little children had previously endured was not enough. And, despite ALL of this: All these decades of torture, harassment and sexual abuse, Dr. Aafia asked people not to take any revenge or get emotional.  She asked that those who have wronged her, be forgiven as she forgave Judge Richard Berman.

And, Dr. Aafia made a statement during the court hearing that left almost everyone, including the International media present at the court, in tears:

“You can’t build a case on hate; you should build it on fact!”

- Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Needless to say that all this while, Dr. Aafia’s own family including her sister Dr. Fawzia Siddiqui (who herself is a PhD. graduate from Harvard University), Dr. Aafia’s mother, Ismet and Dr. Aafia’s brother have been struggling alot to have their dear relative freed and simultaneously searching for Dr. Aafia’s youngest child, suleman, who is still missing and is feared dead.

Considering all the facts provided before us the least that can be demanded is that some justice be given to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. If Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is atleast repatriated back to Pakistan, perhaps she can pick up some fragments of life with her family. If someone as gentle as Dr. Aafia Siddiqui can be framed for crimes she did not do, then all of us can be framed too. Therefore, it is about time that this horrible ordeal against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui & her family be stopped.

 

 

Letter to Ban-Ki Moon, Sec. Gen. UN

A Letter written to Secretary General, UN by Sister of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. FREE DR. AAFIA!

Honorable Mr. Ban-Ki-Moon,
Secretary General,
United Nations Organization

Re: The Plight of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, A mother of three languishing in a US prison for a crime she did not commit.

Your Excellency,

Congratulations on being elected for a second term, as Secretary General of the esteemed United Nations Organization.

Your historic words in 2007

“I grew up in war.  That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service.  As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this Organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights.”

And your recent statement on Dec. 10th 2011

“Human rights belong to every one of us without exception. But unless we know them, unless we demand they be respected, and unless we defend our right — and the right of others — to exercise them, they will be just words in a decades-old document.”

It is these words and your resolve that I am taking the liberty to introduce the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the United Nations. Her plight as a victim of enforced disappearance, illegal rendition, and torture, is well-known, and has touched the hearts of humanitarians around the globe.  She has been convicted of a crime she did not commit, she has been sentenced to eighty-six years imprisonment in a maximum security US federal prison on Carswell military base, Fort Worth, Texas—where she is currently being held in solitary confinement and virtually incommunicado.

The charges and evidence against her were carefully crafted to avoid any of the well documented evidence that agents of the United States, in collusion with the Pakistani military dictator, participated in  kidnapping her and her three young children from the streets of  Karachi in 2003, or any mention of witnesses who identified her as an inmate in secret American prisons between 2003 and 2008.

There are some in Pakistan who perpetuate the lie that Dr. Aafia was a dangerous terrorist in order to maintain their political viability. There are those in the United States who rely on the same narrative to avoid the embarrassment of being exposed as torturers of an innocent woman and her three small children (two of whom are American citizens).

When I began this campaign to free Dr. Aafia,  I had no intention to do anything beyond bringing my sister and her children home.  Now – having learned that our family is one of thousands who have suffered similarly, I have come to understand that we are far from alone.

My family, our supporters, and I have chosen to use only legal and peaceful methods in the pursuit of justice for my sister. We have consistently denounced any calls for violence and retribution in Aafia’s name. We hope that our example will demonstrate that such injustices – which have become commonplace as the numbers of disappeared continues to rise – can be combated through the use and rule of law, rather than by military might or violent means.

God has answered our prayers and rewarded our efforts. Aafia has been removed from the secret prisons in which she had been held and tortured for five years and her two older children have been returned to our home.  Unfortunately, this is an incomplete victory.

Unfortunately, Dr. Siddiqui’s suffering continues — prolonged solitary confinement while imprisoned, and lack of access to sufficient medical care has left her in a severely weakened state.  Conflicting reports of mistreatment and abuse, compounded by the fact that she is not allowed any contact with her family, have left us to fear the worst.

Respected Sir, as you know, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the United Nations has sworn to uphold under all costs, sets forth the rights of all human beings. Though I am not an attorney, I believe the facts established in Aafia’s case clearly establish that the Universal Declaration has been violated.  For example:

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5. No one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the  competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted by the constitution or by law.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.

Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s kidnapping, along with her three small children — and their subsequent enforced disappearance, false imprisonment, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and illegal rendition — are all facts which have now been established beyond doubt. That the United States could claim jurisdiction to try her for any crime in the face of overwhelming evidence that agencies of that government were and still are involved in criminal activity against her would also seem to violate a number of United Nations declarations concerning human rights. I have enclosed herewith a copy of an investigative report “Aafia Siddiqui: Just the Facts”, published by the International Justice Network, which sets forth some of the great deal of evidence which has been exposed to date.

Repatriating Aafia to her homeland is a singularly comprehensive yet simple and unambiguous act. It is one that can lead to new respect for and confidence in the United Nations as an instrument of international peace and cooperation.  Accordingly, I look forward to a favorable response and a very strong plea for Aafia’s freedom on your behalf.

May we all be guided to do the right thing without fear or favor.

Sincerely,

Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui

M.B.B.S (Dow), MD(USA), ABPN(USA), FCNP, FEEG(Harvard. USA)

Diplomat American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

Ex. Director Epilepsy Program, John Hopkins Univ. (USA)

Consultant Neurologist, Neurophysiologist and Epileptologist.

[Letter Source: http://www.justiceforaafia.org/articles/press-releases/974-letter-to-ban-ki-moon]

“A DRONE OVER THE SKIES OF MADINAH….”

Ask yourself: If the Prophet was with us today,
If he spoke the same words and lived the same way,
If he returned with the same message to relay,
How long would the forces of the world let him stay?

Back then, he taught humankind to: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

Quraysh let him be so long as he was benign,
And to his message, they thought that few would incline,
But when he preached openly, would not bend his spine,
The state turned against him, for he had crossed the line;

At first, they rushed to him seeking some compromise,
They’d give him the mic if he just ceased to chastise,
The ills around him they feared he would neutralize,
But he would not clothe his words in any disguise;

And he persisted in making more minds aware,
Of society’s false gods of which to beware,
Of the tyrants of Earth, so the state could not bear,
And his “freedom of speech” vanished into thin air;

Choking him as he prayed, they tried suffocation,
Then imposed three years of economic sanction,
Signed off authorizing his assassination,
He was hunted in his land, forced to migration;

To track down this “radical”, the vast land they’d comb,
Abu Jahl led the pack, his mouth frothing with foam,
Put him on a ‘Wanted’ list in his own home,
Like Jesus Christ before him at the hands of Rome;

And the Romes of today at whose hands we’re abused,
Who preach to us values from which they’re self-excused,
How similar the tools of repression they used,
The tyrants of past and present are ever fused;

Today, he’d see us consumed by the same fires,
With the gods in our hearts these worldly desires,
And the gods of the Earth nations and empires,
Headed by killers and professional liars;

He laid siege to Qaynuqa’ for one woman’s fear,
So what would he say to those who gang-raped ‘Abeer?
Muffled ‘Aafia’s screams as she shed tear after tear?
And occupy Muslim countries year after year?

He’d come back to remind us to: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

In a repeat of that reality uncouth,
Imagine he stood and struggled for the same truth,
And had the same impact on society’s youth,
Would they not once again fight this man nail & tooth?

Of course, they’d first test him to see what he’s about,
Would he stay true like before, or would he sell out?
Would fear of the state instill in his mind some doubt?
No doubt, he’d be a mountain shaking off their clout;

In an era where his inheritors deprave,
The trust of their knowledge so their skins they would save,
He’d be and inspiration for every field slave,
Craving an example of the fearless and brave;

Their think-tanks would scramble to counter his appeal,
Find scholars for dollars with whom to make a deal,
To persuade us: ‘The Prophet is just full of zeal,
Grieving injustices – quote – “perceived” and not real!’

They’d wiretap him as he said: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

Then they’d name him on a federal indictment,
American court would charge him with incitement,
Through Surat at-Tawbah – marked ‘Criminal Statement’
Khalid bin al-Walid as his co-defendant;

They’d say he conspired from the North to South Pole,
And seek a life sentence with no chance of parole,
In a bright orange suit on lockdown in the Hole,
Such do they treat those spirits they cannot control;

Like the rest of us who have committed no crime,
But to be a proud Muslim at this point in time,
As the war on his message has reached its full prime,
Giving those who live by it more mountains to climb;

When they saw that in this message he would persist,
They would designate him a global terrorist,
And just like Quraysh, they would pound an angry fist,
Before placing his name on their own target list;

Over the skies of Madinah, they’d send a drone,
Distribute ‘Wanted’ posters with his bearded face shown,
Talk to local tribes, make the reward money known,
For those who capture or kill him and retrieve each bone;

They’d study Badr and Uhud, learn his strategy,
And profile those who pledged to him under the Tree,
Try to identify his ‘Number Two’ and ‘Three,’
Is it Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, or ‘Ali?

To the Prophet’s Mosque, they’d send an entire brigade,
To round up the Ansar who had given him aid,
To kick down his family’s door in a night raid,
To make him the target of their final crusade;

Because his message would still be: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

Imagine if the Prophet was with us today,
If he spoke the same words and lived the same way,
If he returned with the same message to relay,
They’d reserve him a cell at Guantanamo Bay.…

 صلي الله عليه و سلم

Written by:
طارق مهنا
Tarek Mehanna

Monday, 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah 1431/15th of November 2010

Plymouth Correctional Facility, America
Isolation Unit – Cell #108

Drones-kill-innocent-people

FOOTNOTES:
1.) Abeer Qasim al-Janabi, a 14-yr old Iraqi girl who was gang-raped,
beaten, shot, and burned along with her parents and siblings by American soldiers in March of 2006, south of Baghdad. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmudiyah_killings
2.) Referring to the hadith: “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”
3.) Referring to the Pledge of Ridwan given under a tree on the day of Hudaybiyah, as mentioned in Surat al-Fath, v.18.

Original Post: http://www.freetarek.com/a-drone-over-the-skies-of-madinah/


Pakistan High Court Seeks Report on Suleman

By Jamal Khurshid – The News Newspaper, Pakistan.

November 24, 2012

suleman Suleman pictured shortly before being disappeared in 2003.

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the ministries of interior and foreign affairs to file comments on a petition requesting that the whereabouts of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s son, who along with his mother and two siblings, had been allegedly picked up by security agencies…

The petitioners alleged that US agencies — CIA and FBI — were also involved in the operation, and submitted that threats were issued to Dr Aafia’s family to remain silent over the abduction; otherwise, their lives could be in danger. They said the detainees were handed over to the US agencies by Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies in violation of the Constitution.

The petitioners also pleaded that those involved in the kidnapping of Dr Aafia and her children be tried in a court of law.

A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, observed that the whereabouts of one son of Dr Aafia were still unknown…

The bench further observed that queries raised above were to be answered by the ministries of foreign affairs and interior.

Issuing notices to the secretaries of interior and foreign affairs, the bench directed both ministries to respond to queries with regard to the whereabouts of the missing son of Dr Aafia, and observed that in case no reply was received then it would be compelled to order the secretaries of the ministries concerned to appear.

Who is Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and what happened to her and her loved ones?

BACKGROUND

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was born on 2 March 1972 in Karachi, Pakistan. She is one of three siblings. Aafia’s father Mohammad Siddiqui was a UK-trained doctor and her mother, Ismet, is a homemaker. Aafia has three children: Ahmed (b. 1996), Maryam (b. 1998), and Suleman (b. 2002), the latter of whom remains missing to this day.

Aafia moved to Texas in 1990 to be near her brother, and after spending a year at the University of Houston, transferred to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Siddiqui’s fellow students say she was a quiet, studious woman who was devout in her religious beliefs but far from the media characterisation of ‘Lady Qaeda’. A fellow student, Hamza, recalled in an interview with the BBC, “I remember Aafia as being sweet, mildly irritating but harmless”.

During her time at MIT, Aafia joined the campus Muslim Student Association (MSA) and was actively involved in efforts to portray the teachings of Islam to non-Muslims in order to better their understanding of her faith and invite them to Islam. Her emphasis in her life on bettering the conditions of Muslims even pervaded her academic achievements. During her sophomore year at MIT, she won a grant of $5,000 to study the effects of Islam on women living in Pakistan. In addition to her many academic achievements, Aafia earned the honourable status of committing the entire Qur’an to memory.

Following her graduation, Aafia married a medical student Mohammed Amjad Khan. She subsequently entered Brandeis University as a graduate student in cognitive neuroscience. Citing the difficulty of living as Muslims in the United States after 9/11 and following FBI harassment of her husband, Aafia and her husband returned to Pakistan. They stayed in Pakistan for a short time, and then returned to the United States. They remained there until 2002, and then moved back to Pakistan. Some problems developed in their marriage, and Aafia was eight months pregnant with their third child when she and Khan were separated. She and the children stayed at her mother’s house, while Khan lived elsewhere in Karachi. After giving birth to her son, Aafia stayed at her mother’s house for the rest of the year, returning to the US without her children around December 2002 to look for a job in the Baltimore area, where her sister had begun working at Sinai Hospital. On 1 March 2003, Pakistani authorities arrested Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Aafia and her children disappeared just 27 days later.

DISAPPEARANCE

Dr. Afia Siddiqui, a highly educated researcher who studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, for about 10 years and did her PhD in genetics, mysteriously disappeared from Karachi in March 2003 along with her three children. Since then, US and Pakistani officials have continuously denied any knowledge about her.

It was only after British prisoner Moazzam Begg mentioned her in his book The Enemy Combatant that Human Rights Organizations and activists, British journalist Yvonne Ridley and MP Lord Nazir in particular, raised voice for Dr. Aafia kept in solitary confinement and her three children. A specially disturbing part of this story is that fate of her three children, aged between one month and 7 years at the time of her kidnapping, is still unknown.

Aafia Siddiqui, In 2007, the media started giving Dr. Aafia’s case more serious attention and several reports were published about her tragic fate. Amnesty International included her on a June 2007 list as someone for whom there was “evidence of secret detention by the United States and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown.”

Britain’s Lord Nazir Ahmed, (of the House of Lords), asked questions in the House about the condition of Prisoner 650. According to one news story, “He [Lord Nazir] said she is physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at the prison.” Lord Nazir has also submitted that Prisoner 650 has no separate toilet facilities and has to attend to her bathing and movements in full view of the other prisoners.

And it was on July 6, 2008, when a British journalist, Yvonne Ridley, called for help for a Pakistani woman she believes has been held in isolation by the Americans in their Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan, for over four years. “I call her the ‘grey lady’ because she is almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continues to haunt those who heard her. This would never happen to a Western Woman,” Ms Ridley said at a press conference.

Ms Ridley, who came to Pakistan to appeal for help, said the case came to her attention when she read the book, The Enemy Combatant, by a former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg. After being seized in February 2002 in Islamabad, Mr. Begg was held in detention centres in Kandahar and Bagram for about a year before he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay. He recounted his experiences in the book after his release in 2005. Imran Khan, leader of Justice Party (PTI) has also been raising voice, held a joint press conference with Ms. Ridley on this issue, and criticised government of Pakistan for not doing anything and hiding facts about Prisoner 650.

After these reports in media, the US and Pakistani authorities were forced to admit just last week that Dr. Aafia was indeed in US captivity, the Prisoner 650 at Bagram Base.

CNN has released the official version of US Government today and according to Dr. Aafia’s attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, “a lot of the allegations implausible” and argued that the charges “don’t pass the sniff test.” According to CNN:

A Pakistani scientist accused of shooting at U.S. officers while in Afghan custody last month was due to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge Tuesday morning in New York.

Aafia Siddiqui – FBI Notice Aafia Siddiqui, whom the FBI had sought for several years for terrorism, faces federal charges of attempted murder and assault of a U.S. officer and U.S. employees, federal authorities said.

The 36-year-old American-educated neuroscientist is a suspected member of al Qaeda. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each charge. On July 18 Siddiqui shot at two FBI special agents, a U.S. Army warrant officer, an Army captain and military interpreters who unknowingly entered a room where she was being held unsecured at an Afghan facility, officials said.

Aafia Siddiqui was behind a curtain when she used an officer’s rifle to shoot at the group, officials said. She shot twice but hit no one, they said. The warrant officer returned fire with a pistol, shooting Siddiqui at least once. She struggled with the officers before she lost consciousness and was then given medical attention. The day before the shootings, Afghan police arrested Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound where they found bomb-making instructions, excerpts from the “Anarchist’s Arsenal,” papers with descriptions of U.S. landmarks, and substances sealed in bottles and glass jars, U.S. officials said Monday.

Responding to these allegation, Elaine Whitfield Sharp told DAWN, Geo and CNN:

“This is a very intelligent woman. What is she doing outside of the governor’s residence? The woman is a Ph.D. Is a woman like this really that stupid? There is an incongruity and I have trouble accepting the government’s claims,” the attorney said.

“If she was carrying fluids and was considered dangerous, then why was she left unattended in a room behind a curtain? And this dangerous, hardened criminal picks up a gun and misses?”

Dr. Aafia’s sister, Dr. Fauzia, held a press conference today along with Human Rights Activist Iqbal Haider and she urged authorities to presume her sister is innocent and is demanding that the government be required to prove any charges against her “beyond a reasonable doubt.” She appealed to the government of Pakistan, all religious, political parties and human rights organizations to play their active role in bringing her sister back home. At least, they should immediately hand over the children to the family as no law on earth allows that. This is one of the most serious violation of human rights. “I fear a political prosecution to protect the United States from embarrassment, rather than from ‘terrorism,’” Fouzia Siddiqui said. Iqbal Haider severely criticised US and Pakistani Governments and said that they promoting terrorism by doing inhuman acts like this.

According to Aafia’s mother, Aafia left their home in Gulshan-e-Iqbal in a Metro-cab on 28 March, 2003 to catch a flight to Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport. In February 2010 Aafia’s eldest son returned to the scene and described how, when he, his mother and siblings came out of their home, fifteen to twenty people, including a ‘white lady’ and members of the ISI, were waiting in three to four vehicles on the next street and subsequently kidnapped them. Aafia was placed into one black car and the crying children into another. She described to her lawyer that she was immediately hooded and drugged. When she awoke she was tied to a gurney in a place that could not have been Karachi because the air was very dry.

Following her trial, Aafia’s lawyer Elaine Sharpe, described how Aafia’s baby, Suleman, was believed to have been killed during the arrest. Dr Siddiqui was later shown a picture of her baby, lying in a pool of blood. It is not known if Suleman, who would now be 7 years old, is alive.

Pakistani papers mentioned reports the following day that a woman had been taken into custody of terrorism charges and confirmation came from a Pakistan Interior Ministry spokesman. The media reported that Aafia Siddiqui had been ‘picked up in Karachi by an intelligence agency’ and ‘shifted to an unknown place for questioning’. A year later, the press quoted a Pakistani government spokesman who said that she had been handed over to US authorities in 2003.

Aafia Siddiqui had been missing for more than a year when the FBI put her photographs on its website.

Aafia’s mother described in a BBC interview in 2003, how a ‘man wearing a motor-bike helmet’ which he did not remove, arrived at the family residence and warned her that if she ever wanted to see her daughter and grandchildren again, she should keep quiet. Both the Pakistan government as well as US officials in Washington denied any knowledge of Aafia’s custody. Aafia’s sister, Fowzia also says that she was told by the then Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat in 2004 that Aafia had been released and would return home soon

At almost precisely the same time that Aafia went missing, two other alleged Al Qaeda suspects disappeared from Karachi – Majid Khan and ‘Ali ‘Abd al-’Aziz ‘Ali. They would be amongst hundreds arrested by the Pakistani intelligence services and handed over to the FBI and CIA as part of the War on Terror. Like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Khan and Ali would not reappear again until September 2006, following their transfer from CIA custody, where they were reportedly tortured including the use of waterboarding, to Guantanamo.

SECRET DETENTION

Aafia claims that she was kidnapped by the Pakistani intelligence services with her children and transferred into US custody. She further alleges that she was detained in a series of secret prisons for five years during which time she was repeatedly abused, tortured and raped. Aafia’s claim is substantiated by former Bagram detainees who affirmed the presence of a female detainee of Pakistani origin at Bagram, with the prisoner ID “650”. The International Committee for the Red Cross also confirmed that a woman had been detained at Bagram. Immediately after his release from Guantanamo in 2009, ex-Bagram detainee, Binyam Mohamed declared that the woman he saw in Bagram, with the prison no. 650, was indeed Aafia Siddiqui.

The US has previously denied the presence of female detainees in Bagram and that Aafia was ever held there, bar for medical treatment (after they shot her) in July 2008.

Little is known about what happened to Aafia and her children in the five years in which they were missing. However, in October 2009, when Aafia was visited by a Pakistani parliamentary delegation she spoke a little about the five years in which she had been disappeared, saying “I have been through living hell”. She described being given an injection and when she came to, she was in a cell. She said she was being brainwashed by men who spoke perfect English, who may have been Afghans. She did not think they were Pakistanis. She described being forced to make false confessions and sign statements. She alleged that she had been tortured although she provided no details. She was also told by her captors that if she did not co-operate, her children would suffer. During her trial, Aafia alluded to being tortured in secret prisons, to being raped, her children being tortured, and being threatened to be “sent back to the bad guys” – men she described as sounding like Americans but could not be “real Americans” but “pretend Americans” due to the treatment they had subjected her to. After her trial it emerged that the government of Pakistan had put a gag order on Aafia’s family in exchange for releasing her eldest son Ahmed.

Aafia’s lawyers, Elaine Sharpe and Elizabeth Fink, would later corroborate this by stating publicly that she had “been through years of detention, whose interrogators were American, who endured treatment fairly characterised as horrendous” and that she had been “tortured”.



RE-ARREST IN AFGHANISTAN

On 7 July 2008, a press conference led by British journalist Yvonne Ridley, in Pakistan resulted in mass international coverage of Aafia’s case as her disappearance was questioned by the media and political figures in Pakistan. Within weeks, the US administration reported that she was arrested by Afghani forces along with her 13 year old son, outside the governor of Ghazni’s compound, allegedly with manuals on explosives and ‘dangerous substances in sealed jars’ on her person. Her lawyers claim that the evidence was planted on her. Aafia would later testify during her trial that the bag in which the evidence was found was not her own and was given to her, being unaware of its contents. She also claimed that the handwritten notes were forcibly copied from a magazine under threat of torture of her children. She recalledthe presence of a boy at the Ghazni police station whom she believed could have been her son, but could not know with certainty since they had been separate for several years.

On 3 August 2008 an agent from the FBI visited the home of her brother in Houston, Texas and confirmed that she was being detained in Afghanistan. On Monday 4 August 2008, federal prosecutors in the US confirmed that Aafia Siddiqui had been extradited to the US from Afghanistan where they alleged she had been detained since mid-July 2008. They further allege that whilst in custody she fired at US officers (none being injured) and was herself shot twice in the process. Aafia confirmed during her trial that she was hiding behind a curtain in the prison, as the US claim, with the intent of escaping as she feared being returned to a secret prison, but categorically denied picking up the gun or attempting to shoot anyone. Aafia was charged in the US with assaulting and attempted murder of US personnel in Afghanistan.

RELEASE OF AHMED SIDDIQUI

In late August 2008, Michael G Garcia, the US attorney general of the southern region confirmed in a letter to Dr Fowzia Siddiqui that Aafia’s son, Ahmed had been in the custody of the FBI since 2003 and was he was currently in the custody of the Karzai government. Earlier the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson had earlier claimed that Washington has no information regarding the children.

According to an Afghan Interior Ministry official quoted in the Washington Post, Ahmed Siddiqui was briefly held by the Interior Ministry after his arrest in July 2008 and was thereafter transferred to an Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), notorious for its brutal treatment of detainees, despite the fact he was too young to be treated as a criminal suspect under both Afghan and international law.  Under Afghanistan’s Juvenile Code, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 13 and according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child a minimum age of criminal responsibility below the age of 12 is “not internationally acceptable.”

Ahmed was finally released to the custody of Aafia’s family in Pakistan in September 2009.

He later gave a statement to police in Lahore, Pakistan, that he had been held in a juvenile prison in Afghanistan for years. On being reunited with his father for the first time, he ran away screaming in horror, claiming that his father was amongst those who used to beat him in Afghanistan.

THE TRIAL

The trial of Aafia Siddiqui began Tuesday 19 January 2010, in a Manhattan federal courtroom. Prior to the jury entering the courtroom, Aafia turned to onlookers saying; “This isn’t a fair court, (…) Why do I have to be here? (…) There are many different versions of how this happened,” referring to the alleged shooting.

Three government witnesses testified on the opening day of the trial; Army Capt. Robert Snyder, John Threadcraft, a former army officer and John Jefferson, an FBI agent. Both were stationed in Afghanistan at the time of the alleged assault and murder attempt.

During the trial, while Snyder testified that Aafia had been arrested with a handwritten note outlining plans to attack the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street, Aafia disrupted the proceedings with a loud outburst aimed at Snyder, after, which she proclaimed her innocence stating; “Since I’ll never get a chance to speak, if you were in a secret prison.. where children were tortured… This is no list of targets against New York. I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.”

In the morning before the closing remarks, the last government witness, FBI Special Agent, Angela Sercer testified. Sercer monitored Aafia for 12 hours a day over a two week period while she was at a hospital in Bagram. She tried to rebut Aafia Siddiqui’s testimony, by saying that Aafia told her she was in “hiding” for the last five years and further that she “married” someone to change her name.

However under cross examination, Sercer admitted that while at the hospital Aafia expressed fear of “being tortured”. Sercer also admitted that Aafia expressed concern about the “welfare of the boy” and asked about him “every day”. Moreover, that Aafia only agreed to talk to her upon promises that the boy would be safe. According to the testimony Aafia said that the Afghans had “beaten her”; that her “husband had beaten her and her children”; and that she was “afraid of coming into physical harm”.

When Sercer was further questioned about what Aafia said about her children during that two week period, she admitted that Aafia expressed concern about the “safety and welfare of her children”, but felt that the “kids had been killed or tortured in a secret prison”. “She said that they were dead, didn’t she” asked Defence attorney, Elaine Sharpe; reluctantly Sercer answered, “Yes.”

The trial took an unusual turn with an FBI official asserting that the finger prints taken from the rifle, which was purportedly used by Aafia to shoot at the U.S. interrogators, did not match hers. Another event complicated the case further, when the testimony of witness Masood Haider Gul appeared different from the one given by U.S. Captain Schnieder earlier. The defence denied all charges, stating that “the soldiers had given different versions of where she was when the M-4 was allegedly fired and how many shots were fired.”

The trial lasted for 2 weeks and the jury deliberated for 2 days before reaching a verdict. On February 3, 2010, she was convicted and found guilty on all counts. , despite the following discrepancies:

· The court proceedings were flawed, and limited to the incident in Ghazni, which itself lacked concrete evidence.

· It is still unexplained how a frail, 110 pound woman, confronted with three US army officers, two interpreters and two FBI agents managed to assault three of them, snatch a rifle from one of them, open fire at close range, hit no one, but she herself was wounded.

· There were no fingerprints on the gun.

· There was no gunshot residue from the gun.

· There were no bullet holes in the walls from that particular gun.

· There were no bullets cases or shells in the area from the specified gun.

· The testimony of the government’s six eyewitnesses contradicted each other.

· The statements Aafia made to FBI agent Angela Sercer were made whilst she was under 24 hour surveillance by FBI agents in the hospital at Bagram, with her arms and legs tied to a bed for weeks, several types of meidcation, sleep-deprived and at the mercy of the agent for food, water and in order to relieve herself. Sercer did not identify herself to Aafia as a FBI agent. The use of these statements in court were objected to by the defence on the basis of ‘Miranda laws’ which mandate that a detainee must be informed of their rights, have access to an attorney, or in the case of international law, consular staff and law enforcement officials must identify themselves. Despite this the judge denied the motion and allowed this to form part of the questioning.

· Aafia’s disappearance, torture and missing children were not at all addressed during the court case.

POST CONVICTION

Following her conviction, Aafia remained at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York where she has spent the best part of her detention in the US. Throughout that time, she has been subject to humilitating and degrading strip and cavity searches, prompting her to refuse legal visits on many occasions. Since the beginning of March Aafia has been refused all contact with her family and has not been permitted any letters, phonecalls, visits or reading material under the pretext of “the security of the nation.”

In April 2010, a 12 year old girl was left outside the resident of Fowzia Siddiqui in Karachi by unidentified men claiming she was the missing daughter of Aafia Siddiqui. Although initially it was thought that she was not Aafia’s daughter, following DNA tests conducted by the Pakistani government, the Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed that the tests proved that the child was indeed Aafia’s daughter, Maryam, and that her DNA matched that of Ahmed Siddiqui (Aafia’s eldest son) and their father, Amjad Khan. Dr Fowzia intended to carry out their own independent investigation to confirm the girl’s identity. In a press conference Senate Committee for Interior Chairman, Senator Talha Mehmood reported that Maryam Siddiqui was recovered from Bagram airbase in the custody of an American – in the Urdu-language press, an American soldier – called “John”. He also said that she had been kept for seven years in a ‘cold, dark room’ in Bagram airbase.

After several postponements, Aafia was finally sentenced to 86 years in prison, on 5 counts, on September 23rd 2010, making her eligible for release in 2094. She would be 122 years old at the time of her release, if she remains alive at that time.

And then there is the whereabouts and welfare of Aafia’s youngest son, Suleman which to this day remain a mystery.
This is undoubtedly injustice at its worst!

Who was prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and what did he do?

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Almost everyone on the earth today is discussing Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. People want to know, “Who was he exactly?” “What did he teach?” “Why was he loved so much by some and hated so much by others?” “Did he live up to his claims?” “Was he a holy man?” “Was he a prophet of God?” “What is the truth about this man – Muhammad?”

How can we discover the truth and be totally honest in our judgment?

We will begin with the very simple historical evidences, facts as narrated by thousands of people, many of whom knew him personally. The following is based on books, manuscripts, texts and actual eyewitness accounts, too numerous list herein, yet all have been preserved in original form throughout the centuries by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Muhammad ibn (son of) Abdullah ibn (son of) Abdul Mutalib, was born in the year 570 C.E. (Christian Era) in Makkah, Felix Arabia (today: Saudi Arabia) and he died in 633 C.E. in Yathrib (today: Madinah, Saudi Arabia).

A. His names: When he was born, his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib, gave him the name Muhammad. And it means “praised one” or “praising one.” He was later called “As-Saddiq” (the Truthful) by all of those who knew of his truthful and honest nature. He always said only the truth. He was also called “Al-Amin” (the Trustworthy) due to his integrity and always upholding any trust given to him. When the tribes were battling against each other, both sides would entrust him with their possessions during the fighting, even if it might be against some of his own tribesmen, because they knew he would always uphold any trust given to him. All of his names indicated the very nature of a man who was praised for his honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. He was also well known for advocating the reconciliation of kinship and relationships. He ordered his followers to always honor the “ties of the wombs” (siblings and other close relatives).
This fits right in with the prophecy mentioned in the Bible in the Book of John in chapters 14 and 16, as the coming of a prophet known as the “Spirit of Truth” or “Comforter” or “Advocate.”

B. Born as a descendent of Abraham, peace and blessings be upon him, through his first born son, Ishmael (Ismail in Arabic), peace and blessings be upon him, to the noble tribe of the Quraish who were the leaders of Makkah in those days. Muhammad’s blood line traces directly back to Abraham, peace and blessings be upon him.
This could certainly point to fulfillment of Old Testament (Torah) prophecies in Deuteronomy (chapter 18:15) of a prophet, like unto Moses from “their brethren.”

C. He kept the Commandments of Almighty God, just as his great grandfathers and prophets of old had done in the past (peace be upon them). Here is a statement from Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, while the Quran was being revealed to him by the angel Gabriel;


“Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your PARENTS; do not kill your children because of poverty – (Allah) provide sustenance for you and for them; do not come near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. This He has commanded you that you may understand.”
[HOLY QURAN 6:151]

D. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, lived in total commitment to his Belief in One God, and as such, he worshipped God alone, without any other “gods” beside Him. This is the very first commandment in the Old Testament (Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy, chapter 5) and in the New Testament as well (Mark, chapter 12, verse 29).

E. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered his followers to obey Allah Almighty. He ordered following the Commandments as were revealed to him by the angel Gabriel from Almighty Allah. Read below, one of many similar statements from the Quran:


Surely, Allah Commands absolute justice and steadfast commitment to performing your duties to Almighty Allah, in total sincerity and giving help to relatives: and He forbids evil, and disobedience and all that is prohibited by Allah (such as; illegal sexual acts, disobedience of PARENTS, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right, etc.), and (He Forbids) any evil (i.e. all that is prohibited by God’s Law, such as: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds, etc.), and all kinds of oppression, He admonishes you, that you may take heed.
[HOLY QURAN 16:90]

F. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never fell into the common practice of his tribesmen to worship statues, idols or man-made “gods.” He forbid his followers to ever engage in worship outside of the One True God (Allah) of Adam, Abraham, Moses and all the prophets, peace be upon them all.


And the people of the Scripture Jews and Christians did not differed amongst themselves until after there came to them clear evidence.


And they were commanded only to worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (no gods beside God), and perform prayers and give charity: and that is the right religion.
[HOLY QURAN 98:4-5]
He despised false worship to any man-made gods or images or anything in creation as a god. He hated all of the complexities and degradation to which it leads.
This is in direct obedience to the second commandment in the above mentioned verses, “Thou shalt not make any graven images.”

G. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, always held the Name of God (Allah) in the highest of reverence and never took God’s Name in vain or for any vainglorious purpose.
He forbid his followers for ever doing anything like this and encouraged them to use names such as “Servant of Almighty God” (Abdullah).

H. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, upheld the proper worship and ceremonies of his grandfathers, Abraham and Ishmael, peace be upon them. Here is something from the second chapter of the Quran. Read closely;


“Recall when Abraham’s Lord (Allah) tested him with Commands, that he fulfilled. Allah said, “Surely, I am going to make you a leader (prophet) of mankind. (Abraham said) “And my offspring, too.” (Allah) said, “My Covenant (prophethood, etc.) does not include wrong-doers (thalimun).


“And recall when (Allah) made the House (ka’bah in Bakkah, which later was called “Makkah”) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And it is your place of prayer, and (Allah) commanded Abraham and Ishmael to purify (God’s House at Makkah) for those who are circling it, or staying there or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in worship).


“And when Abraham said, ‘My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, for them that believe in Allah Almighty and the Last Day.’ (Allah) answered, “As for him who doesn’t believe, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him t the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!”


“And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the Sacred House (Ka’bah in Makkah), saying, ‘Our Lord! Accept from us. Certainly! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.’”


“Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage – Hajj and ‘Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.


“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own (and indeed Allah answered by sending Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him ), who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Quran) and full knowledge of (Allah’s) Laws and jurisprudence, and sanctify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.”


And who turns away from the religion of Abraham (Monotheism) except him who fools himself? Truly, (Allah) chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous.


When his Lord said to him, “Submit (“Islam” means “submission”)!” He said, “I have submitted myself (“Muslim” means “one who submits”) to the Lord of all that exists.”


And this (submission to Allah) was ordered by Abraham upon his sons and by Jacob; saying, “O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion; then die not except in the Faith of Submission (like those in true submission to God’s Will).”
[HOLY QURAN 2:124-132]

I. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, performed these same ceremonies in worship to what we find the prophets doing before him, bowing to toward the ground and prostrating (falling on the face) while praying and worshipping. He would face Jerusalem for his devotionals and commanded his followers to do the same (until Allah sent down the angel Gabriel with revelation to change the direction (Qiblah) mentioned in Quran).

J. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advocated rights for all members of the family and especially ties to the parents, both mother and father, also rights for infant girls, orphaned girls and certainly for wives, as well.
It is known from the Quran, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered his followers to be kind and respectful to their parents. They were told not to even say, “Ooh” to them while caring for them in their old age. Read from the Quran:


And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor.
[HOLY QURAN 17:23]

K. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was the defender of the orphans and even the newborn children. He ordered the care of orphans and feeding of the poor as the means to enter Paradise and if anyone held back the rights of those who were destitute, they could forget about ever seeing Paradise. He also forbade the killing of new born girls, as was a custom of ignorance according to primitive Arab traditions. This is referred to in the Quran; when, on the Day of Judgment those who practiced the evil deed of terminating the life of their own infant daughters, will have it exposed, the Quran says:


“And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) is going to be asked; about what sin could she (as an infant) have possibly committed.”
[HOLY QURAN 81:8]

Those who spend their wealth (in Allah’s Cause) by night and day, in secret and in public, they shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
[HOLY QURAN 2:274]

L. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered men not to “inherit women against their will,” and not to marry them accept by mutual consent and never to touch their wealth or inheritance in order to improve their own financial conditions.


O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.
[HOLY QURAN 4:19]
We also notice from this verse, He forbid the common practice of wife-beating and abuse, (his own wife said he never once hit her).
He never once engaged in sex outside of marriage, nor did he ever approve of it, even though it was very common at the time. His only relationships with women were in legitimate, contractual marriages with proper witnesses according to law. His relationship to Ayesha was only that of marriage. He did not marry her the first time her father offered her hand to him in marriage. He married her only after she reached the age of puberty and could decide for herself. Their relationship is described in every detail by Ayesha herself in the most loving and respectful manner as a match truly made in heaven. Ayesha is considered as one of the highest scholars of Islam and lived out her entire life only having been married to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. She never desired any other man, nor did she ever utter a single negative statement against Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

M. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered men to “provide and protect” women, whether it was their own mother, sister, wife or daughter or even those of others, whether they were Muslims or not.


“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support the women) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.).
As to those women on whose part you see ill­conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, startle them (set forth a clear example or parable for them, to make clear the point of what is going on before divorcing them) so if they return to proper obedience (to Allah and their husbands), do not annoy them any further. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.”

[HOLY QURAN 4:34]

N. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, prohibited killing of children for fear of poverty and also forbade killing any innocent people.


Say (O Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him): “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Law). This He has commanded you that you may understand.
[HOLY QURAN 6:151]

O. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never committed adultery, and he required his followers to engage only in lawful marriage relationships with women, and forbid sex outside of Almighty God’s Ordinance.


Satan (the devil) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.
[HOLY QURAN 2:268]

Say (O Muhammad SAW): “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al­Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.”
[HOLY QURAN 7:33]

And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).
[HOLY QURAN 17:32]

The adulterer marries not but an adulteress or a Mushrikah and the adulteress none marries her except an adulterer or a Muskrik [and that means that the man who agrees to marry (have a sexual relation with) a Mushrikah (female polytheist, pagan or idolatress) or a prostitute, then surely he is either an adulterer, or a Mushrik (polytheist, pagan or idolater, etc.) And the woman who agrees to marry (have a sexual relation with) a Mushrik (polytheist, pagan or idolater) or an adulterer, then she is either a prostitute or a Mushrikah (female polytheist, pagan, or idolatress, etc.)]. Such a thing is forbidden to the believers (of Islamic Monotheism).
[HOLY QURAN 24:3]

Verily, those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not.
[HOLY QURAN 24:19]

O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the pledge, that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit illegal sexual intercourse, that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood (i.e. by making illegal children belonging to their husbands), and that they will not disobey you in any Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all that which Islam ordains) then accept their Bai’a (pledge), and ask Allah to forgive them, Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[HOLY QURAN 60:12]
People committed fornication and adultery in most places around the word in Muhammad’s time, yet he never once did so, and he forbade all of his followers from this evil practice.

P. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, forbade usury and interest on money lending, as Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, had done centuries before him. It can be easily shown how usury eats away at wealth and destroys the economic systems throughout history. Yet, just as in the teachings of the prophets of old, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, held that such practices were most evil and must be avoided in order to be at peace with the Creator (Allah).


Those who eat usury (deal in interest) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Satan leading him to insanity. That is because they say: “Trading is only like usury,” whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden usury. So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating usury shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns to dealing in usury, such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.


Allah will destroy Riba (usury) and will give increase for charity, alms, etc. And Allah likes not the disbelievers, sinners.
 
Truly those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and perform Salat, and give Zakat, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.


You who believe! Be afraid of Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from usury, if you are believers.


And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allah and His Messenger but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.
[HOLY QURAN 2:275-279]

Q. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never gambled and did not allow it. Like usury, gambling takes away wealth but at an even faster pace.


“People ask you (Muhammad) about alcohol and gambling. Say, ‘There is great sin in both of them and (some benefit) for humans, but the sin is greater than any benefit from them.’ And they ask you what they should spend (for charity, etc.). Say, ‘Whatever is above your basic needs.’ So, Allah makes it clear to you His Laws in order for you to give thought.”
[HOLY QURAN 2:219]
Gambling had not been viewed as so evil until the time of Muhammad, peace be upon. Today, it is well established the damage gambling causes to families and even mental health. The idea of getting something for nothing is not the proper way of life prescribed by the teachings of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

R. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never drank alcohol or strong drink, even though it was a very normal thing for people of his time and place.


“O you believers! Intoxicating drinks, gambling, fortune telling, etc. is the hated work of the devil. So stay away from all of that horrible stuff, that you will be successful.”


“The devil only wants to create hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks, etc.) and gambling and to keep you from the remembrance of Allah and from your proper worship (prayers). So, why won’t you away from them?”
[HOLY QURAN 5:90-91]
The Arabs, like most other cultures at his time, drank alcohol without concern for their health or for their altered behavior while intoxicated. Many of them were alcoholics.
In today’s world there is little need to present long discussions on the evil and dangers of drinking alcohol. Besides causing diseases and ruining a person’s health, alcohol is often attributed to be the cause of many traffic accidents resulting in property damage, injuries and deaths. The first order was for the followers of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, to leave off drinking while engaged in worship, then came stronger orders to leave drinking all together. Thus, offering a time for the early Muslims to break off from their addiction to strong drink.

S. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, did not engage in gossip or backbiting and he always turned away from hearing anything related to it.


O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.
[HOLY QURAN 49:6]

O you who believe! Do not allow one group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith? And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed wrong-doers.


O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting) . And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.
[HOLY QURAN 49:11-12]
Certainly, these teachings would be well appreciated in today’s world where we find almost everyone engaging in the worst of gossiping and insulting of others, even the closest of relatives and loved ones.

T. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was most generous and encouraged others to be the same way in their dealings with others. He even asked them to forgive the debts of others with hope of receiving a better reward with their Lord (Allah).


And if the debtor is in a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay, but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know.


And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.
[HOLY QURAN 2:280-281]
S. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, commanded the payment of charity to the poor and he was the defender and protector of widows, orphans and the wayfarers.


“Therefore, do not oppress the orphan, nor repulse the beggar.”
[HOLY QURAN 93:9-10]

Charity is for the poor, who in Allah’s Cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land (for trade or work). The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty. You may know them by their mark, they do not beg of people at all. And whatever you spend in good, surely Allah knows it well.
[HOLY QURAN 2:273]

U. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught people how to deal with the most extreme difficulties and tests that occur to us throughout our lives. He held that only through patience and a humble attitude would we find true resolution and understanding of life’s complications and disappointments. He the most patient of all and was exemplary in his own humbleness. All who knew him had to admit to these virtues.


O you who believe! Seek help in patience and the prayer. Truly! Allah is with the patient ones.
[HOLY QURAN 2:153]
He explained this life was a test from Allah:


And certainly, Allah shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient ones.
 
[HOLY QURAN 2:155]

Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.”
[HOLY QURAN 2:156]

V. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, fasted for days at a time to be closer to Almighty God and away from the narrowness of worldly attractions.


O you who believe! Observing the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.
[HOLY QURAN 2:183]

W. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, called for an end to racism and tribalism from the beginning to the end of his mission. He was truly the peacemaker for all times and all people.


O mankind! (Allah) has created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who is one of the pious. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware
[HOLY QURAN 49:13]
And in another verse of the Quran:


O mankind! Have piety and be most dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All­Watcher over you.
[HOLY QURAN 4:1]

X. Regarding keeping up good relationships and bringing people back together after a falling out, the Quran says:


And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which rebels till it complies with the Command of Allah; then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable.


The believers are nothing else than brothers to each other. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.
[HOLY QURAN 49:9-10]

Y. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, was the immaculate conception and miracle birth of Mary, and that she was the best creation of Almighty God. He insisted even to the Jews of Madinah, that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, was the Messiah, the Christ, the one predicted to come in their Torah (Old Testament). He also taught that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, did many miracles by the permission of Almighty God, curing the lepers, restoring sight to the blind and even bringing a dead man back to life, and he was not dead, rather Almighty God had raised him up. He also predicted Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, is going to return again in the Last Days to lead the true believers in a victory over the evil and unrighteous people, and he will destroy the Anti-Christ.

Z. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, forbade any killing, even when his followers were being killed, until the orders for retaliation came from Allah. Even then the limits were clearly spelled out and only those engaged in active combat against the Muslims or Islam were to be fought in combat. And even then, only according to very strict rules from Allah.


Taken from http://www.prophetofislam.com

The real criminals in the Tarek Mehanna case By Glenn Greenwald

 

Image

Tarek Mehanna is seen in this image from video footage taken in Boston in 2009.  
(Credit: Reuters/WHDH-TV)
In one of the most egregious violations of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech seen in quite some time, Tarek Mehanna, an American Muslim, was convicted this week in a federal court in Boston and then sentenced yesterday to 17 years in prison. He was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda (by virtue of translating Terrorists’ documents into English and expressing “sympathetic views” to the group) as well as conspiring to “murder” U.S. soldiers in Iraq (i.e., to wage war against an invading army perpetrating an aggressive attack on a Muslim nation). I’m still traveling and don’t have much time today to write about the case itself — Adam Serwer several months ago wrote an excellent summary of why the prosecution of Mehanna is such an odious threat to free speech, and I’ve written before about the growing criminalization of free speech under the Bush and Obama DOJs, whereby Muslims are prosecuted for their plainly protected political views — but I urge everyone to read something quite amazing: Mehanna’s incredibly eloquent, thoughtful statement at his sentencing hearing, before being given a 17-year prison term.
At some point in the future, I believe history will be quite clear about who the actual criminals are in this case: not Mehanna, but rather the architects of the policies he felt compelled to battle and the entities that have conspired to consign him to a cage for two decades:

________________________

TAREK’S SENTENCING STATEMENT
APRIL 12, 2012

Read to Judge O’Toole during his sentencing, April 12th 2012.

In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful Exactly four years ago this month I was finishing my work shift at a
local hospital. As I was walking to my car I was approached by two federal agents. They said that I had a choice to make: I could do things the easy way, or I could do them the hard way. The “easy ” way, as they explained, was that I would become an informant for the government, and if I did so I would never see the inside of a courtroom or a prison cell. As for the hard way, this is it. Here I
am, having spent the majority of the four years since then in a solitary cell the size of a small closet, in which I am locked down
for 23 hours each day. The FBI and these prosecutors worked very hard-and the government spent millions of tax dollars – to put me in that cell, keep me there, put me on trial, and finally to have me stand here before you today to be sentenced to even more time in a cell.

In the weeks leading up to this moment, many people have offered suggestions as to what I should say to you. Some said I should plead for mercy in hopes of a light sentence, while others suggested I would be hit hard either way. But what I want to do is just talk about myself for a few minutes.

When I refused to become an informant, the government responded by charging me with the “crime” of supporting the mujahideen fighting the occupation of Muslim countries around the world. Or as they like to call them, “terrorists.” I wasn’t born in a Muslim country, though. I was born and raised right here in America and this angers many people: how is it that I can be an American and believe the things I believe, take the positions I take? Everything a man is exposed to in his environment becomes an ingredient that shapes his outlook, and I’m no different.  So, in more ways than one, it’s because of America that I am who I am.

When I was six, I began putting together a massive collection of comic books. Batman implanted a concept in my mind, introduced me to a paradigm as to how the world is set up: that there are oppressors, there are the oppressed, and there are those who step up to defend the oppressed. This resonated with me so much that throughout the rest of my childhood, I gravitated towards any book that reflected that paradigm – Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I even saw an ehical dimension to The Catcher in the Rye.

By the time I began high school and took a real history class, I was learning just how real that paradigm is in the world. I learned about the Native Americans and what befell them at the hands of European settlers. I learned about how the descendents of those European settlers were in turn oppressed under the tyranny of King George III.

I read about Paul Revere, Tom Paine, and how Americans began an armed insurgency against British forces – an insurgency we now celebrate as the American revolutionary war. As a kid I even went on school field trips just blocks away from where we sit now. I learned about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and the fight against slavery in this country. I learned about Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and the struggles of the labor unions, working class, and poor. I learned about Anne Frank, the Nazis, and how they persecuted minorities and imprisoned dissidents. I learned about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King,
and the civil rights struggle.

I learned about Ho Chi Minh, and how the Vietnamese fought for decades to liberate themselves from one invader after another. I learned about Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Everything I learned in those years confirmed what I was beginning to learn when I was six: that throughout history, there has been a constant struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors. With each struggle I learned about, I found myself consistently siding with the oppressed, and consistently respecting those who stepped up to defend them -regardless of nationality, regardless of religion. And I never threw my class notes away. As I stand here speaking, they are in a neat pile in my bedroom closet at home.

From all the historical figures I learned about, one stood out above the rest. I was impressed be many things about Malcolm X, but above all, I was fascinated by the idea of transformation, his transformation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “X” by Spike Lee, it’s over three and a half hours long, and the Malcolm at the beginning is different from the Malcolm at the end. He starts off as an illiterate criminal, but ends up a husband, a father, a protective and eloquent leader for his people, a disciplined Muslim performing the Hajj in Makkah, and finally, a martyr. Malcolm’s life taught me that Islam is not something inherited; it’s not a culture or ethnicity. It’s a way of life, a state of mind anyone can choose no matter where they come from or how they were raised.

This led me to look deeper into Islam, and I was hooked. I was just a teenager, but Islam answered the question that the greatest scientific minds were clueless about, the question that drives the rich & famous to depression and suicide from being unable to answer: what is the purpose of life? Why do we exist in this Universe? But it also answered the question of how we’re supposed to exist. And since there’s no hierarchy or priesthood, I could directly and immediately begin digging into the texts of the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, to begin the journey of understanding what this was all about, the implications of Islam for me as a human being, as an individual, for the people around me, for the world; and the more I learned, the more I valued Islam like a piece of gold. This was when I was a teen, but even today, despite the pressures of the last few years, I stand here before you, and everyone else in this courtroom, as a very proud Muslim.

With that, my attention turned to what was happening to other Muslims in different parts of the world. And everywhere I looked, I saw the powers that be trying to destroy what I loved. I learned what the Soviets had done to the Muslims of Afghanistan. I learned what the Serbs had done to the Muslims of Bosnia. I learned what the Russians were doing to the Muslims of Chechnya. I learned what Israel had done in Lebanon – and what it continues to do in Palestine – with the full backing of the United States. And I learned what America itself was doing to Muslims. I learned about the Gulf War, and the depleted uranium bombs that killed thousands and caused cancer rates to skyrocket across Iraq.

I learned about the American-led sanctions that prevented food, medicine, and medical equipment from entering Iraq, and how – according to the United Nations – over half a million children perished as a result. I remember a clip from a ’60 Minutes‘ interview of Madeline Albright where she expressed her view that these dead children were “worth it.” I watched on September 11th as a group of people felt driven to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings from their outrage at the deaths of these children. I watched as America then attacked and invaded Iraq directly. I saw the effects of ’Shock & Awe’ in the opening day of the invasion – the children in hospital wards with shrapnel from American missiles sticking but of their foreheads (of course, none of this was shown on CNN).

I learned about the town of Haditha, where 24 Muslims – including a 76-year old man in a wheelchair, women, and even toddlers – were shot up and blown up in their bedclothes as the slept by US Marines. I learned about Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses. I just want to point out, as you can see, Muslim women don’t even show their hair to unrelated men. So try to imagine this young girl from a conservative village with her dress torn off, being sexually assaulted by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five soldiers. Even today, as I sit in my jail cell, I read about the drone strikes which continue to kill Muslims daily in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Just last month, we all heard about the seventeen Afghan Muslims – mostly mothers and their kids – shot to death by an American soldier, who also set fire to their corpses.

These are just the stories that make it to the headlines, but one of the first concepts I learned in Islam is that of loyalty, of
brotherhood – that each Muslim woman is my sister, each man is my brother, and together, we are one large body who must protect each other. In other words, I couldn’t see these things beings done to my brothers & sisters – including by America – and remain neutral. My sympathy for the oppressed continued, but was now more personal, as was my respect for those defending them.

I mentioned Paul Revere – when he went on his midnight ride, it was for the purpose of warning the people that the British were marching to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, then on to Concord to confiscate the weapons stored there by the Minuteman. By the time they got to Concord, they found the Minuteman waiting for them, weapons in hand. They fired at the British, fought them, and beat them. From that battle came the American Revolution. There’s an Arabic word to describe what those Minutemen did that day. That word is: JIHAD, and this is what my trial was about.

All those videos and translations and childish bickering over ‘Oh, he translated this paragraph’ and ‘Oh, he edited that sentence,’ and all those exhibits revolved around a single issue: Muslims who were defending themselves against American soldiers doing to them exactly what the British did to America. It was made crystal clear at trial that I never, ever plotted to “kill Americans” at shopping malls or whatever the story was. The government’s own witnesses contradicted this claim, and we put expert after expert up on that stand, who spent hours dissecting my every written word, who explained my beliefs. Further, when I was free, the government sent an undercover agent to prod me into one of their little “terror plots,” but I refused to participate. Mysteriously, however, the jury never heard this.

So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders – Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It’s what I’ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it’s not extremism. It’s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland. So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don’t have to agree with my beliefs – no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home.

But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed ”terrorism” and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become “the terrorists” who are ”killing Americans.” The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 ½ centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It’s the mentality of colonialism.

When Sgt. Bales shot those Afghans to death last month, all of the focus in the media was on him-his life, his stress, his PTSD, the mortgage on his home-as if he was the victim. Very little sympathy was expressed for the people he actually killed, as if they’re not real, they’re not humans. Unfortunately, this mentality trickles down to everyone in society, whether or not they realize it. Even with my lawyers, it took nearly two years of discussing, explaining, and clarifying before they were finally able to think outside the box and at least ostensibly accept the logic in what I was saying. Two years! If it took that long for people so intelligent, whose job it is to defend me, to de-program themselves, then to throw me in front of a randomly selected jury under the premise that they’re my “impartial peers,” I mean, come on. I wasn’t tried before a jury of my peers because with the mentality gripping America today, I have no peers. Counting on this fact, the government prosecuted me – not because they needed to, but simply because they could.

I learned one more thing in history class: America has historically supported the most unjust policies against its minorities – practices that were even protected by the law – only to look back later and ask: ’what were we thinking?’ Slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese during World War II – each was widely accepted by American society, each was defended by the Supreme Court. But as time passed and America changed, both people and courts looked back and asked ’What were we thinking?’ Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist by the South African government, and given a life sentence. But time passed, the world changed, they realized how oppressive their policies were, that it was not he who was the terrorist, and they released him from prison. He even became president. So, everything is subjective – even this whole business of “terrorism” and who is a “terrorist.” It all depends on the time and place and who the superpower happens to be at the moment.

In your eyes, I’m a terrorist, and it’s perfectly reasonable that I be standing here in an orange jumpsuit. But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is. They will look at how hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed by the US military in foreign countries, yet somehow I’m the one going to prison for “conspiring to kill and maim” in those countries – because I support the Mujahidin defending those people. They will look back on how the government spent millions of dollars to imprison me as a ”terrorist,” yet if we were to somehow bring Abeer al-Janabi back to life in the moment she was being gang-raped by your soldiers, to put her on that witness stand and ask her who the “terrorists” are, she sure wouldn’t be pointing at me.

The government says that I was obsessed with violence, obsessed with ”killing Americans.” But, as a Muslim living in these times, I can think of a lie no more ironic.

-Tarek Mehanna
4/12/12