Archive for the ‘Muslim Prisoners’ Category

Esquire Magazine: What it Feels Like…Guantanamo Bay

October 11, 2008

Apparently, Esquire Magazine has a series in which they print short reflections on “What it Feels Like…” A few months ago they ran one by former Prisoner at Guantanamo and one by a former Guard.

I am continually amazed about whatever little information I get about the prisoners at Guantanamo because I am always so impressed by them. Of course it makes me feel even worse about what has happened and is happening to them and makes me feel even more angry, but it also makes me feel good to claim the same faith as them and inspires me to hopefully be a better Muslim myself. I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising as it is well known that Allaah (swt) tests the ones He loves most with the greatest of burdens….and it is Allaah (swt) that will reward them with the greatest of rewards.

What it Feels Like….to Be a Prison Guard at Guantanamo Bay

By Christopher Arendt, 24, Student

I liked working night shifts, because whenever they were awake, I wanted to apologize to them. When they were sleeping, I didn’t have to worry about that. I could just walk up and down the blocks all night long.

There was usually one detainee who would lead the call to prayer at five in the morning. That person was in the very last cell. The detainees, they sang beautifully. It was so eerie to hear, because it was such a beautiful song, and to hear forty-eight detainees just get up in the morning and, in unison, sing this gorgeous song that I could never understand — because Arabic is way out of my range of possibility — it was really intense.

Camp Delta is on a cliff that overlooks the ocean. I had never been to the ocean before in my whole life. There have been a few times in the military when I’ve been so stricken by the juxtaposition of how awful what is happening inside the moment is, and how aesthetically beautiful it is at the same time. Seeing the first couple detainees start preparing for prayer, and then at the same time the sun starting to come up over this cliff base — that was probably one of the most confusing moments of my life.

Every day you walked down the blocks, forty-eight people in two rows of twenty-four cells, and you have no idea what any of them are there for. They’re just sitting in their cells. You give them food, and if they get crazy, you spray them with this terrible oil-based chemical. Then you send these five guys in to beat the shit out of them.

I grew up in Charlotte, Michigan. This was the first time that I ever met any Muslim person before in my life. My family lived in a trailer in a cornfield on a dirt road. I enlisted when I was seventeen, on November 20, 2001. Oh, my God, I met a lot of new people by enlisting.

I had bought two pornos before I left for Cuba, and I had no idea that I would get so depressed that those wouldn’t even interest me. I ended up cutting them up, and I put the remnants of the pornos all over my wall. I made a wallpaper on my half of the room of all these like really grotesque pornographic photos. My mom had sent me a packet of dinosaur stickers, so all of the particularly obscene shots I covered with dinosaurs, and I would just sit and stare at that for a long time.

During the span of a few months, I worked maybe half the time on the blocks. It wasn’t a whole lot of time, but it was really starting to break me down. I couldn’t deal with it. I tied a 550 cord to the ceiling fan that was in my room and I tried to hang myself, but I ripped the fan out of the ceiling. I’ve never been happier about poor construction. That was about two months before we went home.

One thing I miss is the cups. The detainees were only allowed to have Styrofoam cups, and they would write and draw all over them. I’m not totally familiar with Muslim culture, but I did learn that they don’t draw the human form, and I’m not positive if they draw any creatures, but they draw a lot of flowers. They would cover the things with flowers. Then we would have to take them. It was a ridiculous process. We would take the cups — as if they were writing some kind of secret message that they were somehow going to throw into the ocean, that would get back to somebody — and send them to our military intelligence. They would just look at these things and then throw them away. I used to love those little cups. —As told to Lily Percy

What it Feels Like…to Be a Prisoner at Guantanamo Bay

By Murnat Kurnaz, 26, Author, Activist

They used to beat everybody. There was a man — he was really old and couldn’t see and couldn’t hear. If the guards told him something to do and he didn’t do it because he couldn’t hear, they went into his cage and beat him up. They did this for a couple minutes, and after that they took him out and brought him to isolation. That happened to me as well, a lot of times.

There doesn’t need to be a reason. First they would use a pepper spray. It’s burning. It is hot. You have trouble breathing and opening your eyes. All of your face is burning — your eyes especially and inside your nose. You can’t open your eyes because they are burning very hot. Since you have trouble breathing, you have to cough all the time. Then they’d punch me with their elbows. After they were done, they would write something down as to what could be the reason for it.

We were allowed to do the call to prayer every day, but they used to play music over us at the same time. The music some of the time was rock music, but most of the time they played the [American] national anthem. Or they used to kick the doors.

The worst thing about being in Guantánamo was having to live in the small cages. Most of the time there was nothing in there with me. Sometimes I had only my shorts on and nothing else. Nothing else except my shorts and myself.

I never lost my hope, of course. Not losing my hope is an important part of my religion.

Read an excerpt from Kurnaz’s book Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo at esquire.com/wifl08.

Murat Kurnaz

Murat Kurnaz

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The Last Third of the Night by Marryam Haleem

September 3, 2008

This poem is from cageprisoners.

Marryam Haleem has a blog here.

14/08/2008
In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-giving

For

The Guantanamo Bay

Detainees who, I pray,

Will stay on the straight path

And never dismay

Of God’s reward on the Last Day

The Last Third of the Night

Curled on my side

Cheek soft on my pillow

I listen, wide-eyed,

To the crickets chirping

Constant, ceaseless, unending

So unaffected by my heart-rending

Thoughts that are

Constant, ceaseless, unending

On his back, he lays

On a hard board

Listening to the waves

Rush in roaring

Constant, ceaseless, unending

So removed, uncomprehending

Of his heartbeats that are

Constant, ceaseless, unending

I rise from bed

Fixing my mind

On a kind of relief

That will ease my plight.

It is, I know, the last third of the night

(more…)

Sayyid Qutb

August 28, 2008

Sayyid Qutb (rahimuAllaah) was hanged by the Egyptian government on August 29, 1966.

You can read Shaykh Anwar al-Awlaki’s thoughts on Sayyid Qutb’s work “In the Shade of the Qur’an” here.

I also encourage everyone to check out this post on Sayyid Qutb by sister Marryam Haleem.

Here is an excerpt from Qutb’s tafsir of Surat Al-Burooj from “In the Shade of the Qur’an,” translated by Adil Salahi.

“Reference to the event starts with a declaration of anger with the tyrants: “Slain be the people of the pit.” (Verse 4) It also gives an impression of the enormity of the crime which has invoked the displeasure and anger of God, the All-Clement, and which makes Him threaten the perpetrators. We then have a description of the pit: “The fire abounding in fuel.” (Verse 5) The literal meaning of ‘pit’ is a hole in the ground, but the surah defines it as ‘the fire’ instead of using the term ‘trench’ or ‘hole’ in order to give an impression that the whole pit was turned into a blazing furnace.

“The perpetrators aroused God’s wrath for the evil crime they committed: “When they sat around it, watching what they did to the believers.” (Verses 6-7) They sat over the fire, in the actual vicinity of the horror, watching the various stages of torture, and madly enjoying the burning of human flesh in order to perpetuate in their minds this ghastly scene.

“The believers had not committed any crime or evil deed against them: “They took vengeance on them for no reason other than that they believed in God, the Almighty, to whom all praise is due, to whom the dominion of the heavens and the earth belongs. But God is witness of all things.” (Verses 8-9) That was their only crime: they believed in God Almighty who deserves praise for every situation even though ignorant people do not do so. He is the Lord who deserves to be worshiped, the sole sovereign of the kingdoms of the heavens and the earth. As He witnesses all things He has witnessed what the tyrants did to the believers. This verse reassures the believers and delivers a powerful threat to the tyrants. God has been a witness and He suffices for a witness.

(more…)

Thought for the day from Bobby Sands

August 27, 2008

The Guardian: Illegal renditions, disappeared prisoners, and “Prison Ships”

June 2, 2008

From The Guardian, a new article by Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor outlines the continuing illegal and immoral conduct of the United States in its War on Islam and Muslims, oops sorry, I mean “War on Terror.”

Prison ships have a long history and are mentioned prominently in many famous Irish rebel ballads (including “Fields of Athenry”). Their use against Irish nationalists and republicans dates back to the time when “transportation” was used against political and other prisoners down until the 1970s when the HMS Maidstone was anchored off Belfast and used to hold Republican political prisoners, including Gerry Adams and hunger strike martyr Joe McDonnell.

“The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US. (more…)

Vanity Fair: The Green Light

April 4, 2008

There is an important article in Vanity Fair which details how the Bush administration with the urging and justification of its top lawyers embarked on a concerted plan to engage in torture of Muslim prisoners.  The article focuses especially on enemies of God and humanity such as George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Douglas Feith, David Addington, and Alberto Gonzales.  May Allaah (swt) forgive all of us for allowing it to happen in our name and not being able to do anything to stop it.  May Allaah (swt) grant his aid, support, and assistance to the victims of torture all over the world.  As none of the major architects of this specific plan have ever told the truth about what they did nor ever expressed any remorse for what they did but instead of continously lied about it…May Allaah (swt) give them what they deserve.  I do not pray for their forgiveness. 

Here is the article describing what was done to Mohammed al-Qahtani (Detainee 063):

“We talked about the methods of interrogation. “In terms of their effects,” she said, “I suspect that the individual techniques are less important than the fact that they were used over an extended period of time, and that several appear to be used together: in other words, the cumulative effect.” Detainee 063 was subjected to systematic sleep deprivation. He was shackled and cuffed; at times, head restraints were used. He was compelled to listen to threats to his family. The interrogation leveraged his sensitivities as a Muslim: he was shown pictures of scantily clad models, was touched by a female interrogator, was made to stand naked, and was forcibly shaved. He was denied the right to pray. A psychiatrist who witnessed the interrogation of Detainee 063 reported the use of dogs, intended to intimidate “by getting the dogs close to him and then having the dogs bark or act aggressively on command.” The temperature was changed, and 063 was subjected to extreme cold. Intravenous tubes were forced into his body, to provide nourishment when he would not eat or drink.

We went through the marked-up document slowly, pausing at each blue mark. Detainee 063’s reactions were recorded with regularity. I’ll string some of them together to convey the impression:

Detainee began to cry. Visibly shaken. Very emotional. Detainee cried. Disturbed. Detainee began to cry. Detainee bit the IV tube completely in two. Started moaning. Uncomfortable. Moaning. Began crying hard spontaneously. Crying and praying. Very agitated. Yelled. Agitated and violent. Detainee spat. Detainee proclaimed his innocence. Whining. Dizzy. Forgetting things. Angry. Upset. Yelled for Allah.

The blue highlights went on and on.

Urinated on himself. Began to cry. Asked God for forgiveness. Cried. Cried. Became violent. Began to cry. Broke down and cried. Began to pray and openly cried. Cried out to Allah several times. Trembled uncontrollably.”

Read the whole article here.

60 Minutes: The Torture of Murat Kurnaz

March 28, 2008

The CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes will broadcast an interview with Brother Murnat Kurnaz this Sunday.  Kurnaz will tell of how he was tortured by the United States while in Afghanistan and after being brought to Guantanamo.  When it became clear that Mr. Kurnaz was guilty of any wrongdoing, the torture and imprisonment continued on for years, as it does for the brothers in Guantanamo and other U.S. prisons and as it continues for thousands of Muslims in the prisons of “Muslim” nations all over the world.

And it is to Allaah (swt) Alone that we can turn for help. 

You can now view the video here. 

Former Terror Detainee Recalls Captivity

Tells 60 Minutes He Was Held Underwater, Shocked, And Suspended From the Ceiling 

A German resident held by the U.S. for almost five years tells 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that Americans tortured him in many ways – including hanging him from the ceiling for five days early in his captivity when he was in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Even after determining he was not a terrorist, Murat Kurnaz says the torture continued. Kurnaz tells his story for the first time on American television this Sunday, March 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Kurnaz, an ethnic Turk born and raised in Germany, went to Pakistan in late 2001 at age 19 to study Islam and wound up in Pakistani police custody. It was three months after 9/11, and Kurnaz says the U.S. was offering bounties for suspicious foreigners. Kurnaz says he was “sold” to the Americans for $3,000 and brought to Kandahar as terrorist suspect.

He claims American troops tortured him in Afghanistan by holding his head underwater, administering electric shocks to the soles of his feet, and hanging him suspended from the ceiling of an aircraft hangar and kept alive by doctors. “Every five or six hours they came and pulled me back down and the doctor came,” he recalls. “He looked into my eyes. He checked my heart and when he said ‘okay,’ then they pulled me back up,” he tells Pelley.

Read the article here.

The Pentagon responds with the nonsensical lying rote garbage statements they’ve learned from the Commander-in-Chief “We treat all detainees humanely.”