Look at what it had made him. Look at what he had become. His face was now masked by a distant look that told of pain and despair. He tried hard but to no avail to conceal the bitterness and anguish in his soul, emanating from the nasty experience he had gone through for an excruciating two years spent in a prison far away from his home country as an alleged “terrorist” and dangerous “enemy combatant”.
Home country? He almost laughed at this statement.
It was now almost a year after his release, and memories of the time spent in solitary confinement were still very much alive in his mind. He could never forget them; 2 years stolen from his youth, from the loving embrace of his wife and from the innocent heart warming laughter of his lovely daughter, Amirah.
Two years of his life he could never get back.
How could he ever forget the cries of anguish from the woman in the cell at the end of the long, dark corridor? The guards beat her up so many times he could no longer count. Other times they just dragged her out of her cell and raped her.
He was pretty sure most of her bones were broken, wondering just how much more she could endure. What crime had she committed to deserve such inhumane treatment?
He could do nothing. He tried closing his ears with his palms but the screams just got amplified. The guards had told him it was his wife. They told him they had taken away his 2 year old daughter to a foster home with a hundred percent guarantee of ending up in a brothel and erasing all traces that she was born a Muslim.
His face had turned red in fury, he bust out, shook the metal bars that gated his cell threatening to break them down and tear the guards to pieces. They in turn had laughed at him, unlocked the door and beat him so hard he could hardly get up.
They went to her cell and raped her again, the animals! It pained him a lot, that he was the husband and father, yet he could do nothing about it. He had cried, begged them to do anything to him but to release his wife. Every time she started screaming down the long dark corridor he wished the cold concrete floor he slept on could give way and swallow him.
It was a constant wish, to get swallowed into the earth. Probably spend forever falling down the abyss to nowhere rather than listen to his wife getting tortured.
He had begged Allah to grant them a swift death, just to escape from the anguish, humiliation and pain.
A friendlier guard had later told him that the prisoner wasn’t his wife. Who was she then, he had asked the guard. He just shrugged his shoulders and carried on his night patrol. Partly, he felt relieved, but another part of him still felt for the woman in that cell. She was definitely someone’s daughter, wife, sister or mother.
She was the daughter of Ummatul Muhammad; noble, respected, preserved and pure. Yet, she suffered so much degradation and humiliation in the hands of these soldiers and guards none of that remained. Not even a trace of it.
He wondered whether Muslims who were free out there ever thought about those who were incarcerated, especially the women prisoners. Did it pain them to know their sisters, mothers and daughters were being humiliated this way? That they, if ever they walked out of prison, would never be the same again?
Yet, so called ‘Muslim leaders’ basked in political glory; guarding their wealth, families and hypocrisies in gated opulence. True to the character of the opinionated classes they broke bread and dined with. Perhaps if these so called leaders spent an hour in the shoes of a Muslim prisoner they would know how it felt. Especially if they were imprisoned wrongfully for a crime they never committed.
He looked down from the balcony of their first floor apartment in which he lived with his aging mother, wife and daughter Amirah. It was the same apartment they, the animals had burst into one night and dragged him away semi naked in full view of his wife and mother. Amirah just cried hysterically out of immense fear, her mother trying hard to cover herself well with her hijab while at the same time holding on to his hand, begging the soldiers not to take him away. They beat her down to the floor, kicked him hard with their boots and rifles.
The last image he saw before they hooded him was Zeynab, his wife screaming in pain. He loathed those memories. They made him feel inadequate as a man capable of protecting his family.
The State had branded him a terrorist harboring literature on “youth radicalization”, weapon training and wiring explosives. They showed the world the alleged literature and incriminating evidence which included an AK-47, several grenades and switches which, as they claimed, he had intended to use for a planned “terrorist attack”. As usual the police had acted on a “tip off”.
To the world, he was nothing more than that, a terrorist. As such, he deserved the most inhumane treatment and torture made available. He did not deserve a fair trial in a court of law. It was mandatory to get rid of terrorists, suspected or not. And they never charged him in court.
He was released 2 years later to the welcoming hands of “Muslim leaders” who urged the state to compensate him for his wrongful rendition. They invited him to posh hotels and drinks in their opulent homes. They loved his company; he wished they were with him in solitary confinement.
He wished they had seen the anguish his mother and wife had endured. The many nights they cried together, silently praying that Allah would deliver him back into their embrace.
It was almost Maghrib time; he watched the retreating sun slowly duck behind the calm clouds. He had to go to the masjid for Salah in as much as his mother freaked out every time he left, always worried he would not return home again. The ordeal had made an indelible mark on his aging mother, she had suffered acute ulcers and her once long, beautiful glossy hair was all grey now. Not because of age though; it was through constant fear for his son.
The masjid wasn’t far off, just a couple of blocks away. He had to cross a road past a bakery and branch to a dirt road leading to the masjid entrance.
Right across the masjid he noticed a parked white saloon car with fully tinted windows. There was something about it that did not fit within the calm surroundings of the masjid.
A cold chill ran down his spine, his legs almost gave way and he felt an overwhelming urge to pass urine.
Way back then after his release they had warned him about this day. Tears welled in his eyes while everything else seemed to stop around him. Memories of the incarceration period were back.
Right then he knew what was about to happen.
The only thing on his mind was a poem he had written to his mother while in detention.
“Dear mother, i am a terrorist……….”