Testimony to Witness to Guantanamo (Feroz Abbasi)
Beyond the Veil
Islamically, there is the tradition of Prophet Mohammad, may peace be upon him [in Arabic], he says: paradise—I think Christians call it "heaven", but we make a distinction between heavens (as in skies) and so forth... but heaven (paradise)— is surrounded by hardship, and hell-fire is surrounded by ease. So, you know, Islam tries to instill in you that if you’re going through hardship, you’re actually going through that veil to paradise. That in order to get to paradise, you have to go through hardship. So, you know, Guantanamo, if you said to me... “do you want to go to Guantanamo? [unintelligible] you have a choice.” I would say "no". I’ll say that now. You know, I would never want to go to Guantanamo. You know, as human beings, that is how we are. But sometimes, God doesn't give us the choice. And the positive thing that comes out of Guantanamo is that: you go through hardship, and then you realize... for me it's been… Right now, I look at the world in a different way... it’s like the veil has been lifted off the world, and what I see... you know, what the world is... it is pain. It is suffering. Guantanamo is the real face of the world in life. That is how I see it. Coming back, that veil has been, you know, placed back, and I’m expected to, like, accept society as though, you know, things like Guantanamo Bay are not happening or, you know, even worse. But I can’t do that because I have seen beyond the veil.
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First thing that will keep you going... not the first thing in terms of importance... but in a sense of chronologically, maybe... is your innocence. Because an innocent man incarcerated... that keeps you [poised]. It keeps your head up. It keeps a sense of your self-respect. You feel that you are being mistreated unjustly, and injustice will not last and it will not get its way, you know. The truth will prevail in that way. That is the first thing chronologically. The second thing is, you know, it's you can look at it in many different levels. On a personal level, I saw it as, you know, this is... this is what Allah has decreed for me, what God has decreed for me. There is a reason for him decreeing this on me, and, you know, there is a wisdom and mercy behind it. And I do not understand it. I don’t understand why I am going through this situation. But I know that there is a reason why God has put me here and through the situation. In that way, you have to humble yourself.
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