Destination Gauntanamo Bay

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Rahim 4

Abdullha arrived today and I was chatting to him and Sadia about Salma. Sadia rolled her eyes, not realizing I could see her through the rear view mirror. She always puts on this act of being better than everybody else. Maybe I did go on and on about my feelings, loving Salma is making me silly. Sadia is a great daughter-in-law and she treats her husband like a king but she can be really fake with the rest of us. 

I have been going to the local Masjid near Salma’s home and it’s a nice close knit community, a lot like the one we have at home. Here people who attend the Masjid don’t just read Salaah and leave, they often stay and chat, they find ways to assist those in the community that have problems and they take part in projects. The imam doesn’t mention names but tells the congregation that he has come across a family in need of certain things and that it is their duty to assist their brethren. This not only done for poor families but even those whose homes are effected by drug use. I admired that a lot because back home every one has this attitude that drugs and alcohol will not affect their home and is therefore not their problem. 

Just last week he spoke about Aids in the sermon. I was in shock. Back home we are convinced that AIDS is not a Muslim problem.  When I asked him about the choice of topic, he said we have to speak about the challenges that we’re facing today. He said I need to stop behaving like the ideal Muslim man should be backward thinking and stuck 1400 years ago when Muslims were explorer and inventors not to mention how progressive Islam was on women’s issues. I never thought of Islam that way and I hoped this wouldn’t change his thoughts about Salma and I being a good couple. I realise there was a lot I needed to learn and I was ready to do so.

After prayers one evening, a young man came to the imam and told him that he had no right to tell his parents that he had a drug problem and it was not his business. I spoke up and told the man that a drug problem was the problem of the entire community and the imam had done the right thing and I hoped he would get some counselling and consider rehab. The young man was furious and he went on and on about how I had no right to butt in and go on about all these issues. I told him that it wasn’t fair on his parents who gave up everything for him. He just laughed and hit me with that same old line… ‘just one smoke to get the edge off.’  

I left and hailed a cab. I headed to the hotel to get my parents and then to Abdulla’s hotel, he was taking us all out for Dinner. He had invited the imam and Salma as well but they politely declined because it was their night to visit the local old age home with a youth group to spend time with those whose family’s didn’t visit them. I thanked Almighty for granting me a good family to marry into and I prayed that I would be a wonderful husband.

My parents and I got to the restaurant. I spotted Abdullah and walked over to the table. There were few people and lo and behold and behold the man with the drug problem from the mosque was there too. I smiled and he nodded, as if he was saying I hate your guts and what the hell are you doing here? Apparently his wife and Abdullah are cousins. This was not the time or place to talk to raise the issue so I decided I would talk to Abdullah about it later.

My Mother was telling Sadia that she should stop working because she was neglecting the kids. My Dad, Abdullah and I were talking about how nice the local Masjid was and how the projects were aimed at helping families in the community regardless of their religion. I mentioned how the imam told me that I was thinking in a backward fashion and I needed to progress, of course Abdullah agreed since he is always telling me that. 

My dad was sipping his indian chai and he asked us if we knew that the first university was founded by a Muslim women. The drug-addict went on and on about how women don’t need an education. I found it really offensive and I told him off.  It got ugly, he called me an ISIS person, I knew he was upset about what happened at the mosque but he was going overboard. He said just because I was marrying Salma I shouldn’t act like I own the place. Abdullha asked him to leave. He asked us really loudly is we were from ISIS and every one in the restaurant turned around. 

Abdullah’s mother took the kids and her niece and left the restaurant. He continued yelling at us. Abdullha got up and told him to shut up and if we were part of ISIS would we have really have been defending women’s rights? Little did we realise that he had recorded everything that day.  

by mumtaz saley

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