courtesy: islamic awakening
Every year on July 4 Americans celebrate the US Declaration of Independence. This date is portrayed by the West as the beginning of civilisation, the move from darkness into light, the dawn of a new era of rights and freedoms. The now-infamous lines of the preamble to that historic document read: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
This year, July 4 marks another historic occasion: a day on which the
Anyone familiar with American foreign policy and the
On that day, the
The problem does not end there.
The torture, ill-treatment and inhuman punishment being meted out to Muslim detainees in American custody have also increased within prisons on US soil. Take the case of John “Humza” Walker Lindh, for example. Despite no evidence having been procured of his ever taking up arms against American troops in Afghanistan, this American revert to Islam is currently serving a sentence of twenty years' imprisonment after pleading guilty of providing aid to the Taliban between May and November 2001 (in May 2001 the Bush administration itself provided $43 million in aid to the Taliban). Lindh was initially held in a medium-security prison in Victorville, where he was prohibited from speaking Arabic, in which he had become fluent in
Even more disturbing, and indicative of an element of institutional Islamophobia and anti-Muslim persecution, has been the opening of what some have described as a “Muslim-only prison” in
Among other things, severe restrictions have been placed on prisoner communication within the CMU. Instead of 300 minutes of phone-time a month, prisoners may receive only one 15-minute call a week, which the warden has the power to reduce to just three minutes a month. In stark contrast to the usual weekly all-day contact-visits in other prisons, visits in the CMU are for two hours, twice a month, and are restricted to non-contact only. All conversations must be conducted in English unless otherwise negotiated. In addition, Islamophobic policies are slowly being implemented whereby detainees are prevented from praying five times a day and from calling the adhaan. Most worrying has been the lack of adequate healthcare, which recently lead to the death of one inmate. The lack of access to medical care seems to be part of a pattern set in
The CMU currently holds only Muslim prisoners leading to accusations of “religious profiling”. The unit was set up in secret, with no public notice of its formation, although such notice is required under Federal law. Furthermore, there is a severe lack of clarity about how it is decided who will be sent there. It is very worrying that the
Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers of the
Liberating the hundreds of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and the thousands of prisoners in American custody around the world would be more in line with the spirit and sentiment of July 4: not only because it is the official American Independence Day, but also because on that day in 1187 the great Muslim general Salahuddeen Ayubi defeated the armies of the Crusaders at Hittin and liberated the people and the land of Jerusalem.