In memory of our sister, Abeer al-Janabi…

1996: Three US Servicemen were convicted of raping a 12-year Japanese girl. On the trial's opening day, Gill (one of the servicemen) said that he raped the girl, while Ledet and Harp (the other two servicemen) said they had been bullied by Gill into abducting the girl and that they did not participate in the rape itself. While passing sentence, Chief Judge Shinei Nagamine said Ledet received a lighter sentence because he did not actually have intercourse with the girl. “He tried to have sexual intercourse but was unable to because he realized she was so young,” Nagamine said.

The Punishment: 7 years imprisonment for each in Japanese jails. According to the article, the “sentence was lighter than expected”.

Fast-forward to 2002: Daniel Pearl, a journalist for WSJ was kidnapped and brutally murdered by extremists in Karachi, Pakistan. Videos of the beheading flashed around the world and Islamophobes ranted and raved about how this proved Islam promoted terrorism. Following Pearl's tragic death, the Daniel Pearl Foundation was created in 2002, three books were published, various articles were written in all the major newspapers, HBO produced a movie “The Journalist and the Jihadi“, and about 2 months ago, a movie “A Mighty Heart” was released. And I add that Pearl deserved no less.

The Punishment: Four men were charged in Pearl's death. Three were given life imprisonment and one was given the death sentence.

Fast-forward to 2006: In March, four of our nation's soldiers gang-raped and murdered a 14-year girl named Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, after murdering her mother Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 34; her father Qasim Hamza Raheem, 45; and her sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza, aged 5. According to the military, PFC Steve Green, SGT Paul E. Cortez, SPC James P. Barker, PFC Jesse V. Spielman and PFC Bryan L. Howard planned the girl's rape. PFC Howard was told to monitor a radio as the others entered the victims' house nearby. The affidavit states that Green ordered the father, mother and younger daughter into a bedroom. Shots were fired, after which Green emerged and reportedly said, “I just killed them, all are dead.” Green and at least one other individual proceeded to sexually assault Abeer Qassim Hamza, after which Green fired two or three shots into her head, killing her.

Abeer's mother, Fakhariya, was reportedly worried that her daughter had attracted the attention of U.S. soldiers at the checkpoint near their home. She asked her neighbor, Omar Janabi, if Abeer could sleep in his daughter's room. Janabi agreed, but it proved to be an ineffective deterrent as the attack took place in broad daylight the day after.

Based on reports, after the rape the lower part of Abeer's body, from her stomach down to her feet, was set on fire. The fire eventually spread to the rest of the room and the smoke alerted neighbors who ran to tell Abu Firas Janabi, Abeer's uncle, that the farmhouse was on fire and that dead bodies could be seen inside the burning building. Janabi and his wife rushed to the farmhouse and doused some of the flames to get inside. Upon witnessing the scene inside, Janabi went to a checkpoint guarded by Iraqi soldiers to report the crime.

I had written a little piece about this on my old blog (graphic content, not suitable for children) and there is more here.

The Punishment:

  • In February, Sergeant Paul Cortez was sentenced to 90 years in prison.
  • Last November, Specialist James Barker was sentenced to 100 years in prison.
  • A few days ago, Private Jesse Spielman was sentenced to 110 years in prison. (See here and here)
  • Also, Private Bryan Howard, who served as a lookout, was sentenced to 27 months in jail for acting as an accessory and helping to obstruct justice.
  • The last soldier is yet to be sentenced but don't hold your breath for anything much worse.

While the papers and news tickers are screaming “Soldier sentenced to 100 years in prison”, the truth in fact is that all three could be free on parole in only 10 years!

Consider for a minute the circumstances of this brutal rape and murder. Think about the savagery and animal-like behavior of the perpetrators.

Compare it to to the “light” sentence for the rape of the 12-year old Japanese girl, who is still ALIVE. Or compare it to the beheading of Pearl and the punishments meted out by the “terrorist safe-haven”, “uncouth” nation of Pakistan. Or compare it with Ali Timimi was handed a life sentence WITHOUT the possibility of parole. Or compare it with the witch-hunt of Dr. Sami al-Arian. Or compare it with our brother Sabri BenKahla was tried twice and finally 'found' guilty, receiving 10 years without parole. Note what the article on Sabri states, “Under normal sentencing guidelines, Sabri Benkahla would have received at most a three-year term for his convictions this year on charges of lying to a grand jury, obstruction of justice and making a false statement.But for the first time, prosecutors were able to obtain a stiffer sentence by arguing that Benkahla's lies effectively promoted terrorism by obstructing a wide-ranging terror investigation.”

Compare it with all it above, and then tell me, doesn't the light punishments for the four soldiers deserve human outrage? Not just Muslims, but especially Muslims. How can it be that a rape of a 12-year old Japanese girl justified what was called a 'light' sentence of 7 years in Japanese prisons, how can it be that Sabri receives 10 years for just LYING, while the gang-rape, murder of this 14-year old Iraqi girl and the murder of her father, her mother, and her 5-year old sister wasn't enough to justify a life-sentence at the least, let alone the death penalty? Each of these soldiers gets JUST TEN YEARS? How will we justify this light treatment of the heinous crime of our “civilized” soldiers to the rest of the world, especially to the Iraqis? What a farce! What Injustice!

Imagine if 5 Muslim men, even 5 non-Muslim men (though the “Muslim” effect would have been worse) had conspired and carried out what they did in Iraq right here in America? Do you think we would be reading this about the murderer's relative: “Spielman's grandmother, Nancy Hess, collapsed outside the courtroom after the verdict was read; Fischbach ran to her side and called 911. Soldiers in Spielman's unit fanned the woman with napkins.” What would the headlines be blasting? Would there be any punishment less than the death penalty meted out (and might I add justifiably)?

Where are the news reports about the relatives of Abeer, the VICTIM? Why is it that I had to search really hard and come up with the following from a UK newspaper (nothing in US papers that I could find):

The murdered girl's surviving family said today they were disappointed that Spielman did not receive the death penalty. The crime outraged Iraqis and significantly increased tensions with American forces in Iraq.

“We were expecting the death penalty against those criminals and the place to carry out the sentence is where the incident happened,” Janabiat's cousin, Abu Ammar, told Reuters. Her uncle, Hadi Abdullah, said the family wished the sentence could be appealed so that the death penalty could be imposed for all those responsible.

And this is only one incident that was “caught”… Read this report on The Nation and consider just this one quote from a soldier, “I just brought terror to someone else under the American flag, and that's just not what I joined the Army to do”

——————
Conclusion:
Some might say that the media's collusion with the government's propaganda, its whitewash of certain events and the sensationalism of other events is as clear as the sun during a cloudless day. Others might insist that it is the government that is severely restricting access to the events in Iraq and other military zones in order to minimize the “public relations” collateral damage. Both arguments have merit.

But what about our Muslim bloggers (with few exceptions such as this)? While we take out time to blast the terrorism in the name of Islam (and rightfully so), while we call out the “lunatics” amongst us, why do we not find it worthwhile to sound off about the injustice committed to one of our sisters and her family? Or even the recent massacre at the Red Mosque? Would we be as quiet if Abeer was our own blood relative? What are we afraid of? Remember, we are not calling out for armed militancy, we are not calling out for terrorism, all we are calling out for is JUSTICE. We are still in the land of “free speech”, aren't we? Why aren't we asking for the same standards to be applied to Muslims as they applied to others… not special treatment, merely FAIR treatment.

Inna lillahi wa innah alehi raajioon.

Related Material:

30 Responses

  1. Dawud

    As salaam aleikum!

    Blarb, I’m still new to the Muslim blogger community so I want to know—what can we possibly do ?

    I’m cynical on this–so please enlighten me!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  2. Bismillah

    as salamu alaykum wa rahmatuAllahi wa barakatahu,

    inna lilahi wa inna elayhi rajeeon..

    SICK subhanAllah .. how do we act when we hear these things?? this is not only the murder… and MUTILATION…and before that [authobillah] RAPE of a YOUNG MUSLIM GIRL.

    what do we do?? how do we act? where is our outrage chanelled into constructive measures…? and here i guess is my real question: what are those constructive measures we need to take?

    Ustadh, may Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward you. If you ever have time to address these questions I would seriously appreciate it… we hear of these things so sadly more than one time… what do we DO?!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  3. Abu Musáb

    If I didn’t believe in the concept of Aakhirah, I’d go insane reading this.

    To believe that there is true justice in our times is to believe that Santa Claus truly exists.

    May Allah accept Abeer and her family as martyrs.

    May Allah curse and punish the forces of taghoot and gather its leaders together with Fir’awn in hell fire.

    Ameen!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  4. Yasir Qadhi

    Salaam aliakum

    I strongly encourage everyone to read the report in The Nation (linked above). One of the co-authors is Dr. al-Arian’s daughter. It’s long, so make sure you have some time to spare, but I assure you once you start you won’t be able to stop.

    Incidents such as these should galvanize us and motivate us to speak out at the double standards employed, by the corporate media and political elites. Educate your friends and co-workers, express to them how you feel, and why you feel this way. Write letters to your local newspapers. The anti-war movement is gaining strength, and we all need to do our part, even if it seems that what we are doing is trivial. Remember that only a few decades ago, this same country had to pack its bags and basically declare defeat in Vietnam merely because the population rose up in protest and refused to support their government in what they viewed as an unjust and evil war. Many Americans, including us, view this war in a similar way – surely we can try to cause a difference?

    And remember that there are plenty of untold stories as well. Here is yet one more victim, probably classified as ‘collateral damage’ by our forces.
    http://www.hishamstory.4t.com
    (excuse the poor English – its obviously written by Iraqi relatives of the boy).

    All of these incidents are tragic. They move our souls and fill us with varying emotions of despair, anger, and, yes, vengeance. Yet, throughout all this, we need to keep our faith in Allah firm, and realize that He will give the righteous their due and the impious theirs. It is not our right to take the law into our own hands. For those who listened to my talk on the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah that I have given in more than one place recently, it is incidents such as these that are ‘our’ equivalents of Abu Jandal and Abu Baseer. Sometimes, all we can do is verbalize our anger and educate others about the reality of the situation, and then make du’aa to Allah to help those who have been wronged, wherever they might be.

    Wa Allahu al-Musta`an wa alayhi al-tuklaan…

    Yasir

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  5. Amad

    ASA, Sh YQ, for those who have not heard your lecture… can you summarize in a few lines what Abu Jandal and Abu Baseer refers to?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  6. Abu Abdurrahman

    Even better, why not have a summary and ALSO stick the talk up on MM?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  7. jinnzaman

    assalamu alaikum

    May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) bring tranquility and justice to our sister Abeer and to the rest of the Ummah and bestow upon humanity the light of guidance. Ameen.

    Its still not too late to organize a vigil in your area. If you are interested, contact abeermemorial@yahoo.com or visit the website abeermemorial.blogspot.com to find out where the vigils in your area are happening.

    May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) reward the brothers and sisters at Muslim matters for spreading the word about the vigils. Ameen.

    Let us become one Ummah and move as a single formation and set aside our differences for the cause of the preservation of the rights of the people and the establishment of Islam, inshaAllah.

    masalama

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  8. ibnabeeomar

    jazakallahu khayr yourbro for the links, but the lecture he is giving now is modified a bit to incorporate parallels to what is going on now. insha’Allah if we can get a recording we’ll try to post it.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  9. your bro

    how can I enable html on my posts? How were you able to add hyperlink to the text? jzk.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  10. khawla hurayrah

    Assalamu’alaikum
    It brought tears reading this post. May Allah have mercy on Abeer and her family that died with her.
    To remind myself and others, remember the hadith that talks about this world being only prison for the believers and paradise for the non believers. I do not envy their sentencing being lighter in this world because….

    Allah is Wise and Just, and on the Day of Judgement, justice will be done to all.

    May Allah make it easy on all believers to be steadfast in this Deen and save us from the fire. Ameen

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  11. Amad

    Jak Faraz… I have added it to the list… if I missed more entries, pls post them here, and I’ll add them. wasalam.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  12. Sister Basmah

    SubhanAllah. May Allah grant Abeer and her family Jannat-ul-Firdows and forgiveness for all of their sins.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  13. Din

    Good article..in general..but 1 question:

    What do you mean when you say ” And I add that Pearl deserved no less.”?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  14. Amad

    I mean that Pearl deserved no less than what he got in terms of all the tributes, the movie and other stuff in his honor…. That was an important clarification… so it may not be misconstrued in a completely opposite sense.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  15. Din

    oh okay…:-)…

    ( pehaps edit your original text a bit to reflect what you meant as well…I almost misred it!)…

    Jazakallah khair for your response..

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  16. Te

    Great web site. Very interesting. I am a humanitarian who takes pleasure in the sharing of information and experiences.

    With that all being said, please forgive this one innocent question:

    In regards to the service members involved in the Okinawa rape case, are you saying the punishment was light, or not severe enough? I just want to make sure the right message is being sent. In my humble opinion, ALL rapists mentioned above (this includes accomplices) should at least be castrated.

    Also, I have dealt with US military prisons. It is highly unlikely that service members guilty of heinous war crimes will have 100 year sentences reduced to 10. Especialy those involved with the execution of a family and rape of a child.

    The 7 year confinement for the rape of the 12 year-old Okinawan girl was awarded in Japanese courts. Though U.S. prison systems are lenient, I can assure you that the military court system would have been much harsher. I have personally seen service members get twice that for much less.

    A point of interest:
    I can not find proof that those involved with the Okinawan rape were registered in the states as sex offenders. The animal that planned that attack is now dead. He went back to the states, raped a woman, killed her, then killed himself. There is something terribly wrong if assaults on foreign victims are not considered offenses worth registering.

    As said before, I like sharing information and experiences. Let me know if I’m wrong. I will not hesitate to revisit my research.

    God bless.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  17. Amad

    Hello Te.
    thank you for your comments.

    Yes, I believe the punishment was definitely too easy. I don’t understand all the ins and outs of the sentencing issues, but it would seem that with good behavior, the soldiers would be able to get out on parole. So their fate in 10 years seems to be in their control… When I posted this on dailykos, someone mentioned that we could write to the prison warden and petition him/her not to allow the parole or something to that effect. Again, i would need some education on that.

    thanks

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

Leave a Reply