Wife and Daughter in Lonely Vigil at US Embassy – London
FD Editor’s Note: This is disturbing – because – why are they alone? Where are the other Muslims to support them? Are they at home, too afraid to come out for fear that they will be arrested as well? If so. why fear anyone or anything other than Allah(SWT)? What will be have to say on the day when we meet Him? This is a disturbing trend that I am seeing here in the U.S. as well. Laila Yaghi, for instance, has no one to support her in her area. People from the masjid do not even visit her. She finally found some support – through online venues – not from her own neighbors or others at the masjid. Why is this?By the blessing of God we all are living in comfort in our homes. We can go where we want, do what we like but there are people who are our dear brothers and sisters that are imprisoned and alone locked within 4 closed walls. They have no human contact. They are separated from their families, abused and tortured or even eventually killed. Please – at least take up your pen and write them.Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said (Al-Fatawa 28/635):
Freeing the prisoners is one of the greatest compulsory deeds and spending ransom money and other means towards that, is one of the greatest ways to come close to Allah.
Ibn Hajar Al-Haithami said (Tuhfah Al-Muhtaj 9/237) said:
If the enemy captures a single Muslim, it becomes wajib (obligatory) on every one who has the ability, to rush to their rescue (even without seeking anyone’s permission). It is apparent that it is compulsory on everyone, similar to the situation where the enemy invades our land. Moreover, saving our brothers is of a higher priority, as the sanctity of a Muslim is greater (than the sanctity of a State).
Narmeen Saleh Al Rubaye, wife of Shawki Ahmed Omar and their 7 year old daughter stood alone outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. Three posters showed his injuries from US torture and asked what one thinks the Iraqis are doing to him now.
Omar has dual Jordanian/US nationality, born in Kuwait in 1962 he went to the US as a student in 1979 and four years later married a US citizen, becoming a US citizen himself in 1986. He went to work in Iraq after the US invasion and was shortly afterwards arrested together with his wife who was pregnant by US troops in October 2004, suspected of supporting the continuing armed resistance to the US invasion. The US allege he was captured with five insurgents and that weapons and materials for making IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were found in his home.
Both Omar and his wife were tortured while in US custody in Iraq – Omar was subjected to water-boarding and electric shock treatment as well as being beaten. Although his wife was released, he is still held in custody, and was recently transferred to be held by the Iraqis. He was subjected to a further round of torture by them in November and December 2012.
Omar is held without proper trial. He had a hearing after his arrest by a military panel without any proper legal representation and they found him to be an enemy combatant while at the same time declaring he was not entitled to treatment as a prisoner of war.
His wife and son filed a habeas corpus petition in the USA in 2005, and following from this gained a temporary order which prevented the US from handing him to the Iraqi authorities for trial as they had intended. But with the US withdrawal from Iraq he had been handed over to them in 2011 and is now held in Al Karkh prison. But the government’s legal position was to argue that this order prevented them working for his release – though as they were themselves holding him it is hard to follow the convolutions of the US legal mind involved. It seems to be simply a legal dodge to avoid their moral (and almost certainly legal) responsibilities.
Omar has been on hunger strike in Al Karkh, protesting the ill treatment and torture of himself and fellow detainees since February 4th. In a statement issued on 27 April his wife states:
“We his family are extremely concerned about his well being. We have not been in contact with him for four weeks and have no idea of his whereabouts or his health and safety. As of the last time we spoke to him his health was on the decline and he was feeling extremely fatigued. He has lost over 40 pounds since the start of his hunger strike.”
She is appealing to the US government to meet its responsibility for the well-being of one of its citizens held in a foreign prison, “especially as they are the ones that turned him over to this torture and ill treatment. Therefore we are asking that the American government intervene on Shawki Ahmed Omar’s behalf to secure his release from Iraqi custody and allow him to return to his family.”
The US embassy were ignoring the lonely figures standing vigil outside their entrance. They were attracting no support either from the public while I was there, although there was a police car and two police vans parked on the road. Like the continuing failure to release the illegally held detainees at Guantanamo it seems another instance of a nation behaving immorally and failing to uphold the principles of freedom and justice it claims to stand for.