Tag Archives: Abu Talhah

Zachary Adam Chesser: July 25, 2013 (Ramadan in Gitmo North – A Break from Tyranny)

BismIllaah ir-Rahmaan ir-Rahiim,

As the month of Ramadaan is now half past, I thought I might mention how we have been granted a brief reprieve from the Islamophobic and authoritarian staff in regards to our ability to pray with one another. You see, normally the Muslims at this particular Gitmo North facility are banned from praying together. We can only pray individually.

The staff who run Gitmo North have claimed that Islaamic congregational prayer will lead to radicalism. They say that whoever is leading the prayer will become an influential religious figure and somehow convince all of the other Muslims in the federal prison system to become terrorists. Thus, they banned congregational prayer.

Really, they just hate Islaam and wanted to punish Muslims for their beliefs, but they will not explicitly say that on paper. However, they have cited the fact that Islaam is the fasted growing religion in the prisons as a reason to ban group prayer, and they have also equated Islaam in general with radicalism.

A brother has informed me that one of the reasons a Muslim inmate was transferred to Gitmo North, was because he was radicalizing a prison in Michigan. As evidence, they cited the fact that prior to his arrival, only five prisoners were listed as Muslims. However, by the time he left, there were forty individuals identifying themselves as Muslims.

There was another man who arrived at Gitmo North, so the intelligence officer, Henry Rivas, told him that he should watch out, because the people here were going to try to convert him to their religion. This man was formerly a member of a religious group called the Black Israelites. A few months after arriving, he did, in fact, become Muslim, al-hamdu Lillaah, but he told us about what Rivas said to him prior to his conversion.

At the other Gitmo North facility, the one in Terre Haute, Indiana, prisoners are allowed to pray together, because a federal court told the prison that they were violating U.S. law by banning the Muslims at Gitmo North from praying together. However, at my facility, the ban continues, because technically the injunction only applies to the Terre Haute facility under American law. So, despite the fact that the facilities are exactly the same and that the law applies to the whole country, not just one pocket here or there, Gitmo North staff continue to ban us from prayer, even though they know it is against U.S. law.

Anyway, in Ramadaan, Gitmo North staff have apparently concluded that it is safe to let us pray together. Somehow the radicalization aura which is supposedly emitted from us when we pray together does not work during the Islaamic holy month devoted to fasting and worship, so they the ban is lifted. It is an amazing blessing which we all take advantage of. Normally, we can only pray together under the fear of disciplinary action.

I hope that the Muslims will reflect on this, and on the difficulty their brothers are enduring with regard to their prayers, and that they will not let their freedom pass them by without their taking advantage of this opportunity. Please keep us in your prayers, and raise awareness of this unjust policy.

Abu Talhah al-Amriiki
Guantanamo North, U.S.A.
16 Ramadaan, 1434


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Zachary Adam Chesser: June 2, 2013 (For our Starving Brothers – A Message from Gitmo North)

As I write this, I am sitting at a desk in a facility known as Guantanamo North, and my words in support of my brothers in Guantanamo Bay are on behalf other prisoners in this facility, who are unjustly imprisoned by a system which long ago rejected any shred of dignity, honor and justice in order to kowtow to reactionary politics and irrational terror. As one reads this, one should not lose sight of the fact that there is little difference between those being held in Guantanamo North in the mainland of the United States, having been prosecuted for various “crimes,” and those being held in Guantanamo Bay on mere suspicions. One group has simply been bussed through a mere illusion of judicial process, while the others are being held under open and shameless tyranny.

Our brothers in Guantanamo Bay are suffering one of the gravest and most obvious injustices since the turn of the century. Many of them, having already been cleared for release, are being held for purely political reasons. Congress took advantage of their situation by blocking their transfers when America was gripped by a sudden wave of Islamophobia, in 2011. Then, in order to play politics and shift the blame squarely on Congress, President Obama refused to utilize an existing legal mechanism to effect their release.

Children have now become adults with little memory of their fathers. Mothers have gone to their graves without a final kiss goodbye from their sons. Yet, politicians and demagogues have bolted the doors to their freedom, all to promote some political charade.

Thus, they have decided to go on a hunger strike until their demands are met and the injustice which burdens them is lifted from their shoulders. All they are asking is that they not be falsely imprisoned, and that if they must be imprisoned upon lies, then their conditions should at the very minimum afford them an ounce of dignity.

We are imprisoned under harsh circumstances ourselves. We are those with the greatest excuse to turn a blind eye on the suffering of our brothers, but we cannot idly watch events go by in the face of such tyranny. Perhaps in this frozen silence of apathy and cowardice, our meek voices will be heard, as there is little din to drown them out.

We hope that the sacrifice of these brothers should shame the Muslim community to stand up to this injustice. We hope that the general American people will be inspired to demand a higher moral standard from their government. We hope that politicians might place rhetoric aside in pursuit of justice.

In these troubled times, the demagogues are many and the chivalry of the public has died. The tyranny of the elite runs wild in the face of the complacency of the masses. The men and women of the world have lost the courage and commitment to champion the causes of justice and dignity.

Therefore, a small group of individuals in a remote dungeon have shouldered the burden of courage and have risen to the occasion. They have decided to starve until their demands are met, having been abandoned by the world. What they lack in resources shall, by Allah’s Will, be overcome by the tenacity of their resolve.

We encourage all who read this, every soul with any fervor for truth, justice or his fellow man, to stand in solidarity with the oppressed spirits in Guantanamo Bay. We ask the public to stand against this injustice. We challenge the Muslims in America to put aside their fear of being labeled as “un-American,” and to have the courage to stand up for their brethren when their faith demands it.

Is it too much to ask of the world that they raise their voices for a moment? That they take a few minutes to write a letter to the politicians holding these men hostage? Is that a heavy price for the freedom of the unjustly enslaved? Is that such a great burden that it is not worth uniting a father with his children? a husband with his wife? a son with his mother?

The tyranny in Guantanamo Bay is a shame upon every being which calls itself a human. The Draconian subjugation of the innocent is only rivaled by the world’s apathetic silence in this regard. It has been said that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Yet, in light of the duration and acuteness of this undeniable oppression, one is to ask if the good men have all passed.

Zachary Adam Chesser #76715-083
USP Marion
U.S. Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959

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Zachary Adam Chesser: May 2, 2013 (Dedicated in Hardship & Ease)

BismIllaah ir-Rahmaan ir-Rahiim,

22 Jumaad ath-Thaani, 1434

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatUllaahi wa barakaatuh,

Akhi, forgive me if my response to such a well-thought letter is unduly short, but I have to save my money at the moment, and these e-mails are actually quite expensive.

Al-hamdu Lillaah, all of these things are true, but they are only true for certain people. There are many people whom prison brings them too much fitnah and so their iimaan gets broken by these fitan. If someone is patient with Allaah’s decree, sincere in his ‘ibaadah and they have taqwaa to keep themselves from getting sucked into sins, then prison will be like a religious retreat for them. However, if they do not have these things, then prison is simply a punishment from Allaah upon them, a test to expose them, and a hardship in this Dunya which is preceding further hardship in the Aakhirah.

Allaah says:

(وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّىٰ نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَارَكُمْ ﴿٣١

“And we shall test you all until We know the Mujaahidiin from among you and the Saabiriin, and We test your report.” (Suurah Muhammad, 47:31)
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Zachary Adam Chesser: May 21, 2013 (Good News on Prayer Lawsuit)

In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy:

I am just writing to all of you to inform you of some good news on a lawsuit I have filed in the Southern District of Illinois over our prisons’ denial of our ability to pray in congregation, as I believe each of you are interested in these proceedings in one way or another. To clarify, there are two CMUs, but only people at the one in Terre Haute, Indiana are now allowed to make congregational prayer, and the Muslims in the CMU where I am incarcerated (Marion, IL) are still prohibited, so this is different from the suit by John (Yahya) Walker Lindh.

My suit recently passed screening, although I had some errors I am trying to correct to get some dismissed defendants back in the case, which is a very important hurdle. The judge took judicial notice of the suit filed by Yahya Lindh, and also ordered a magistrate judge to hold an evidentiary hearing for a preliminary injunction as soon as possible. This is of course important, but I just received some news which is actually a better sign of how the court is likely to behave in this case than even these matters.

Today, I received an order granting my motion for appointment of counsel, which means that the court is going to pay for me to have an attorney. Courts rarely do this in cases filed by prisoners, and it is almost unheard of when the case is at such an early stage as this one is. In fact, the defendants have not even made an appearance in court yet, much less have they filed any of the different types of motions to dismiss all or part of the case that normally occur before a court will even entertain a motion for appointment of counsel (literally it is apparently for “recruitment,” not appointment, but they are effectively the same thing). Thus, the order granting this motion is a strong indication that the court views this as a highly meritorious case, which deserves the professional expertise of a licensed attorney to make sure the right verdict is reached.

Allah knows best when I will actually obtain counsel, but this should also literally save me hundreds of hours of work, so it is a great blessing in that regard to, for which I thank my Lord.

We ask for your prayers and your support going forward.

Anyone who has questions should feel free to send them.

Zakariyya Chesser

Zachary Adam Chesser #76715-083
USP Marion
U.S. Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959

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Zachary Adam Chesser: Assalawat



Zachary Adam Chesser #76715-083
USP Marion
U.S. Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959
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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Sketches


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Zachary Adam Chesser: April 24, 2013 (Response to ‘A Benefit from Prison – When They Turn Their Backs on You!’)

[Response to Sh. Ahmad Jibril’s article ‘A Benefit from Prison – When They Turn Their Backs on You!]

SubhaanAllaah, I am not a scholar, but this is very true and I have seen it myself. The number of brothers I used to know closely who have written me since my arrest around three years ago is just one. A couple other brothers visited me as well as this one. As for the brother who wrote me, then he certainly took good care of me and I cannot say anything against him. He helped me in many ways which I can only make Du’a to Allaah in hopes of repaying him.

Another brother and his family, whom I did not know terribly well before my arrest also helped me in some major ways. When my wife was forced to leave the country, he volunteered to take care of her in Jordan and to help her get by. This brother was also the only person I have found since my arrest who was willing and able to get fataawa answered for me. For me, this is maybe the most important thing anyone can do, because I am not able to access any shaykh for help.

However, and I swear by Allaah that this is a heavy burden on the backs of the scholars who are heedless, when I tell you who was the only scholar we were able to find to answer certain questions, it will amaze you and only add to the things which Shaykh Ahmad Jibril has mentioned. This brother sent some of my questions to numerous individuals and posted some publicly. However, almost none of these were answered. The few that I did receive answers on were from perhaps the single scholar on the face of the earth with the greatest excuse not to answer my questions.

The brother had my questions sent to the imprisoned scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (may hasten his release). Why is it that my questions had to travel half-way around the world to a brother in Jordan, through a few people, then to a shaykh who is in prison himself before they could be answered? To put in perspective the difficulty of this situation, the prison in America blocked some of the responses after learning that this shaykh was in prison himself, so I did not even get all of these answers. I have written publicly and privately seeking help in this regard. Finally, I found a masjid in a magazine which I just randomly wrote to, and I hope they are going to respond as they suggested they might.

Unfortunately, the brother who was helping me and my family went through some very hard times himself. This caused the prison to block me from contacting him for a long time. They have finally re-approved him, but I think now he does not have as much ability to communicate with me and he has not seen the request for communications in his inbox, because of this.

As for what the shaykh said about brothers testifying against others, then there is a duty on those on the outside too. This is not a simple issue where brothers all know the rulings on the matters. It is upon those on the outside to rush to educate brothers who are arrested on the fact that this is still impermissible in almost every situation, even when their families are being threatened. This is a very confusing situation, and I am saying this from the perspective of experience. In fact, probably the most beneficial thing people on the outside could do for Muslim prisoners is to educate them on this issue.

This will literally save many brothers from being arrested in the first place, in shaa-Allaah. It would also reduce the sentences of others, by Allaah’s Will. Is it not better to free a brother than to just write to him? Of course, he will not be able to thank you, because neither he nor you will know that he is free because of you, but on Yawm il-Qiyaamah you will have your reward.

You will also be doing the brothers to whom you are writing a major favor by helping them protect their religion. Many brothers fall prey to Shaytaan in this regard only to later regret it and try to repent from it. Some of them do it out of ignorance of rulings and others do it because they are weak in some regard. Shaytaan comes to brothers with every interpretation they could possibly come up with to justify such a thing. In shaa-Allaah, I will briefly go over my own situation to explain how difficult things become in this regard, so that brothers and sisters get a full picture. And I still do not know the exact ruling on what I did, because of my problem in trying to get in touch with a shaykh. I am only explaining this to help others, and I would conceal such a thing if it were not already known and it were not of such benefit to disclose.

When I was arrested, the Kuffaar quickly began threatening my wife with serious charges unless I pled guilty and cooperated. They also threatened me with life in prison, but that was not nearly as big of a concern as the issue with my wife. Also, if my wife went to prison, then either her mother or my mother would take our one-year-old child, Talhah, and they were both Kuffaar, so I was trying to protect him from something which was even worse than prison. The way I understood things was that I was actually doing less damage to the Muslims by cooperating than by cooperating due to this. Thus, I initially agreed.

I also thought I could deceive them and maybe phrase things in such a way as to harm them and mislead them. I thought I could help keep them away from certain brothers and also help Muslims in this way. This made it seem lighter to me as well. There was also an issue that the two brothers I thought I was likely to possibly harm were seemingly safe from what I knew. I knew that one had made it to a country which did not have an extradition treaty with the United States, and I had been falsely informed (due to a misunderstanding of the code words I was using) that the other brother had made it to a safe place.

Finally, I concluded that even if the ruling of the lesser of two evils did not apply, then the ruling of Ikraah (compulsion) probably applied, so that made things more comfortable to me.

However, as things went on, I began to learn more about the rulings related to Ikraah and choosing the lesser of two evils. For example, under Ikraah, one can say or do Kufr, but they still cannot harm a Muslim. I did not know that at the time I made this decision. Also, when one is choosing between the lesser of two evils, they are not allowed to weigh things the same way when the supposed lesser evil is going to affect them or their family.

Also, Allaah willed that despite this misguided decision, the Kuffaar still took my son. In fact, they went to extreme lengths to do this. My mother filed for custody and won, and she won with the help of the FBI and Secret Service who prevented my little boy from being able to leave the country to go to where his mom would be staying in Jordan and they disclosed lots of information to my mother (much of it completely false) in order to help her take our child. So, my main factor in determining the lesser of two evils turned out not to be correct, and it came about through such bizarre circumstances that I have concluded that this was probably Allaah’s way of showing me that I should have had more trust in Him.

Al-hamdu Lillaah, I am not aware of any Muslim having actually been harmed by me, but this does not mean it was the case. For example, even though I had resolved that no matter what I would not go into court against anyone even if the consequences were as bad as could be, but sometimes cases do not always go to court and one cannot learn if they contributed to harming a brother or not. There is a brother named Yunus ‘AbdUllaah Muhammad whom I think my mere agreement might have harmed even though I did not actually even have any information the FBI did not already have on him. Actually, when they asked me about him, I told them much of the opposite of what they would have wanted to hear.

However, they could have been relying on thinking I would testify against him in court when they arrested him. If they did not think I would do this, they might not have arrested him, so my mere agreement might have harmed him. I do not have any real way of knowing this, but it is certainly troubling and I ask Allaah to help him and to forgive me.

After I learned more about this issue, I quit helping the FBI in any way whatsoever. They came to me and begged me to testify against one of my friends that he was with Al-Shabaab. They offered to cut up to fifteen years off of my sentence, and all they were requesting was that I testify at a hearing which would not even be public, so the brother would not even know if I did this. However, I refused. I told them that the reason was that they did what they did to steal my child from my wife, but this had very little to do with the reason. I just wanted them to write that down, so that in the future they would not do that to other Muslims. Really, the issue was that I did not want to meet Allaah with that burden on my shoulders.

Al-hamdu Lillaah, I have since heard that this brother made it to a very safe location where it would be extremely difficult for the Kuffaar to do anything about him. As this is the main brother the Kuffaar were interested in with me, this is a particular relief.

Since then, I made sure I sent off affidavits to prosecutors saying that everything I ever told the FBI was a lie, but I am sure they do not care. This opens me up to further prosecution, but Allaah’s judgment is much more of a concern to me than the judgment of some old Kaafir wearing an ugly black robe who goes home and drinks himself to sleep every night. Al-hamdu Lillaah, the twenty-five years I do have instead of the ten I could have had are much easier on me. Even if they gave me life, it would be easier.

However, Even if nobody actually wound up being hurt by my decision. My only real issue now is getting in touch with a shaykh to find out how incorrect it was in my specific situation, because that is a major concern for me. It is impossible to really know the exact harm I caused, but in shaa-Allaah, I will keep doing everything I can to fix it.

Also, I can have more hope that I will gain victory over my mother in order to get my son back to my wife now that I have this off of my shoulders. It is better to rely on Allaah than to rely on anything else, and that is the only path to success.

Had someone sent me something explaining some of these things, or even if they simply sent a letter encouraging me to stay away from that type of thing and remain patient, maybe this would have helped. Thus, even if someone does not know the rulings or the situations which prisoners face specifically, they can still help in this regard. And my actions are not the fault of anyone but myself. I am just mentioning something which people can do to help others who might be similarly situated.

May Allaah help all of the brothers and sisters who are imprisoned around the world. May Allaah reward this shaykh and grant him the strength to keep helping those who are in prison. The rights of the prisoners over the Ummah go far beyond writing to them. In fact, the people who are truly fulfilling their rights are unable to write to them. However, most people do not have that kind of courage.

Abu Talhah Al-Amriiki
“Zachary Chesser”
Guantanamo North, U.S.A.
15 Jumaad ath-Thaani, 1434

Zachary Adam Chesser #76715-083
USP Marion
U.S. Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959

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Zachary Adam Chesser: May 5, 2013 (It is The Name by which Tribulations are Dispelled…)

BismIllaah ir-Rahmaan ir-Rahiim:

I had recently set out on the task of translating the book Fat’h ul-Majiid by ‘Abd ur-Rahmaan ibn Hasan, which is the most famous explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd il-Wahhaab’s book Kitaab ut-Tawhiid; however, I recently learned that this book has already been translated. I found this very strange, because I have never seen it in a catalog, and this book is too popular to be so obscure, but Allaah decrees whatever He wills, and only He knows why this is. Thus, I have stopped this project, but there are still some benefits I hope to share from this effort, in shaa-Allaah. Therefore, the following article on the meaning of Allaah is mostly paraphrased from this work and a bit of it is taken from other works I have studied.

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