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No Mercy For The Elders

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Children were taken and tortured in Bagram and Guantanamo. To the Muslim prisoners’ shock, elders were not spared either. In this episode, Moazzam Begg shares deplorable examples of US soldiers harassing vulnerable elderly prisoners. A reminder of how much Guantanamo stands in stark contrast with the dignity Islam grants to all children of Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him).

[As part of the MuslimMatters x CAGE Dhul Hijjah Activism Drive: Close Guantanamo, we bring you a series, Guantanamo Memories, of stories from behind bars.]

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There is a beautiful hadith spoken by our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

He said, “He who does not show mercy to our young ones or recognize the rights of our elders is not one of us.”

I’ve written about Omar and Yasser, two teenagers tortured and detained in Guantanamo. One even died, may Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) accept him as a martyr, Ameen.

Guantanamo and Bagram had little mercy on our young ones. But the elders fared no better…

In Pasho, elderly men are respectfully called spin gira – grey beards. But Bagram, with its dark cells and torture chambers, was devoid of humanity let alone respect.

In Bagram, I remember young US soldiers bragging about the “very dangerous” Afghans who had just been captured.

When I saw they were referring to really old men, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I remember saying that they’d captured the octogenarian unit of the Taliban.

Some of these men had lost their limbs fighting the Soviets during their occupation of Afghanistan, using only rifles from WWI and WWII. Now they were seeing their home occupied by another “superpower”.

Many of them were so old that they couldn’t even remember their exact age.

One day, I saw the soldiers bring a camel spider in a box, and throw it at a very old man who’d been shot in his leg and couldn’t walk.

It was a joke to them.

The camel spider is the most terrifying arachnid I’ve ever encountered, and has a powerful, painful bite. The bite dissolves human flesh.

Several prisoners were bitten by these creatures in front of me.

Bagram was crawling with them… But they weren’t the only ones who had to crawl.

One prisoner had his crutches taken away because they were a “security hazard.” To move, he had no choice but to crawl along the floor.

The system made no sense.

Another elder had his hearing aid taken from him, but the guards would still scream at him when he couldn’t hear or understand what they were saying.

It was infuriating and terribly saddening to see these elderly people treated in this way.

Like most Muslims, I was brought up to respect the elderly and the sick. As Muslims, we are commanded to be good to prisoners.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “I enjoin you to treat the captives well.”

That was another piece of advice that fell on the deaf ears of our captors, but, again, our oppressors should never become our teachers.

Don’t forget to join MuslimMatters and CAGE this month as we work to Close Guantanamo. Check out how you can act today

Related Reading:

 – Dhul Hijjah Global Activism Drive: Close Guantanamo

Dhul Hijjah Global Activism Drive: Close Guantanamo

“A US Soldier Reminded Me Of Allah And Made Me Pray!”

“A US Soldier Reminded Me Of Allah And Made Me Pray!”

 

 

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

CAGE advocates for due process, the rule of law and an end to the injustices of the War on Terror. CAGE is an independent grassroots organisation striving for a world free of injustice and oppression. We campaign against discriminatory state policies and advocate for due process and the rule of law. We work closely with survivors of abuse and mistreatment across the globe, documenting their abuse and enabling them to take action and access due process. We carry out cutting edge research and provide a voice for survivors of the war on terror, challenging the dominant narrative of suspect communities and the perceived threat of terrorism. We empower communities through educational workshops, community events and informative seminars.

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