MOSQUE MARYAM (FinalCall.com) – Surviving abuse and forced confessions; tribunals without lawyers; isolation and humiliation–for the nearly 550 detainees from over 40 countries who have been detained at the U.S. Guantanamo Base prison detention facility in Cuba, freedom and justice have been three long years overdue.
Even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Bush administration last June, permitting prisoners legal representation to go to court to challenge their “enemy combatant” status, the full scope of their treatment–or mistreatment–is barely coming into public view with published Freedom of Information Act reports from the hearings. What is slowly being revealed of their treatment at Guantanamo has not matched the torture and abuse discovered at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, nevertheless violent protests erupted in the Middle East, the most publicized from Afghanistan, when Newsweek magazine published an article that reported a Holy Qur’an had been flushed down a toilet. Despite a May 29 retraction of the Newsweek story, the disrespect of the detainees remained center stage–particularly since the Newsweek story was not the first to recount such acts of desecration.
Against this backdrop of violence, media frenzy and injustice, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan held a press conference May 25 at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Ill., calling for a delegation to visit Guantanamo and speak with the detainees.
“As Muslims, we say enough is enough. We are mobilizing Arab and Muslim countries to say to the Government of the United States: If these Muslims are guilty, then charge and try them, but to hold them for years without a charge is inhumane and unjust. We, in the Muslim Ummah, cannot tolerate this,” Minister Farrakhan declared. “To stop this furor, we are asking the Government of the United States to allow a delegation of Muslims, Christians, Hebrews and Jews, led by members of the United States Congress, to visit the Guantanamo Base detention facility and speak to some of the detainees. Should we find that these allegations are true, then the Government must take steps to correct this, so that America’s image in the world will not be further sullied, and the repair of damaged relationships can begin.”
With most of the local major media, as well as CNN and Agence France Presse, present before him, Minister Farrakhan explained that, despite the insult over the desecration of a holy book, people should rise up more for the pain and torture inflicted on human beings.
“Should not the human being for whom these Books are revealed be looked upon as equal in importance, or even more important, than the Books that God revealed for our evolutionary development?” he asked. “The Qur’an that is being flushed in a toilet has no feeling. The Qur’an that is urinated upon has no feeling. Nothing that anyone does to the Qur’an–sitting on it, standing on it, kicking it–can diminish the Power of the Word contained in this Book to transform human life,” he insisted.
“This behavior manifests gross ignorance, contempt and hatred of those who do these acts for a Book that was revealed for the elevation of all human beings. Should we rise up because of the desecration and disrespect of the Holy Qur’an? Yes, but we should also rise up even more so when we see the persecution of those who believe in the Book because they who have feelings and it is they who can feel torture and pain.”
He stressed that persecution is worse than slaughter, and decried the silence surrounding the torture and persecution of human beings who believe in the Words of God. In his final analysis, he insisted that the truth still remains that there is gross disrespect of the culture and way of life that Muslims strive to follow, as guided by the Holy Qur’an and the example of Prophet Muhammad.
Pledging to work as fast and diligently as the process of gaining approval from the government to visit Guantanamo and interview takes to complete, he affirmed that the delegation sought after will consist of members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as Latino and White Congressional member. He informed that contact has already been made to numerous leaders, and a public announcement will be issued once the delegation members have been finalized.
(May 25, 2005 press conference available via webcast @ http://www.finalcall.com/webcast/05-25-2005/.)