Sunday, December 31, 2006


Eid Mubarak!

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
Laa ilaha il-Allah
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
Wa lil-laa hil-hamd.

I used this card from Muslim Hands because I usually donate my Zakah and charity through them. Their website is They have projects all over the world, not only to feed people, but also to provide education, community projects like safe housing and clean water, and emergency disaster relief.

Today is the most important day of the Muslim year, the tenth day of Dhul-Hijja, a day when we commemorate the life and sacrifices of our father Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him; and the end of the Hajj.

But for me today is much like any other day, since the masjid is a bit far for me to drive to for Eid prayer, and there are no other Muslims here in El Valle. I will celebrate my Eid myself, in my own way. I would have liked to be at the masjid, and to be surrounded by smiling people, shaking my hand and wishing me Eid Mubarak. I do miss that. Maybe next year.

My wishes for the coming year are three:
  1. For all my family and friends to be healthy, happy and safe.
  2. Relief for the Muslim Ummah and the suffering in many lands.
  3. And end to the practice of torture in any nation, under any circumstance, of any person.
I realize that my last wish is not very realistic, but it's something I feel strongly about. I am concerned with all human rights issues, but out of all of them I feel that torture is the most pressing and the most obscene. The fact that in this supposedly modern age, this Information Age, there are still human beings inflicting deliberate and premeditated pain upon others, and that this is sanctioned by governments and is performed quite often by law officers and government agents, is outrageous and sickening.

No matter what else we human beings manage to accomplish as a species - even if we build a base on Mars, cure cancer and build computers that can think and learn - until and unless we end the pratice of torture finally and irrevocably, we will still be barbarians.

Unfortunately my two homelands - Egypt and the USA - are two of the worst offenders, though their approaches are different. In Egypt torture is epidemic and is generally carried out in local jails by police officers; in the USA it is committed quietly and off the books, and not on US soil itself but in CIA-run prisons in Eastern Europe, and in military-run prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and of course Guantanamo.

All of this must end, the sooner the better, but who will lead the way? Who is there any longer who can champion these causes, when even the USA has thrown in the human rights towel and joined the ranks of the torturers?

I don't know, but these are my wishes for Eid, and may Allah grant the first one, and show us the way to the second two.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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