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Tag Archives: CMU

Omar Ahmad (Abdur) Rahman: Date Unknown (For Surely, they will Kill Me…)

My message and will to the blessed muslim nation Oh honorable brothers! Oh Muslims in all parts of the world!

Surely the US government has found in my imprisonment an opportunity;
an opportunity to defile the honour of a Muslim, snatching away his dignity and respect. They’ve placed me under siege, not only physically, but also psychologically.

I’ve been placed in isolation. I’ve been forbidden contact with any Arabic speakers. Days, weeks, months pass and there’s no one I can talk to, and no one to talk to me.

I’ve been deprived of everything inside my cell even media players or a radio. If it wasn’t for the recitation of the Quran, I would have had many physiological problems. In this oppressive siege, cameras are included throughout my cell. They monitor me continuously throughout the day, they even watch me washing my private parts during bathing and using the toilet. They don’t stop there, they exploit my blindness to achieve their vile objectives, for they frisk me by stripping off my clothes, just as I was born, and look at my private parts, front and rear.

What do they search for? Drugs and explosives? This happens before and after every visit. This is so shameful, it makes me prefer the earth to split in half and swallow me whole over their filthy actions. But as I said, to them this is an opportunity they seized to defile the dignity of a Muslim and his honor on this earth. I am also prevented from performing Jumu’a prayers, Eid and any contact with other Muslims! All of this is forbidden to me! They give me false justifications and they make up null excuses.

The prison wardens neglect my personal condition e.g. haircuts and nail-cutting for months. They also force me to wash my underwear. I soak, wash, rinse and hang it, I find it hard! Moreover, I feel the danger of this situation. For surely, they will kill me… they will! Especially now that I’m separated from the world. No one sees what they add in my food, my drink! They could use a slow method to kill me, they could poison my food or medicine or inject me with something. They could drug me with something which would kill me or drive me crazy.

My brothers, if they kill me – which they will – escort my Janazah, and deliver my corpse to my fam- ily. But never forget my blood, never forsake it! Instead take revenge upon them for me in the most severest and violent of manners! And remember that a brother of yours spoke the truth and was killed in the path of Allah.

These few words are my testament to you.
Wassalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

 
 

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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
USA
 
 

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May Allah Grant You Patience, Shukri: The Sanabel Abu Baker that I knew!!

By: Ahmad Musa Jibril

When I was transferred to the Communication Management Unit, also known as the Terrorist Unit or (Guantanamo North)–a special secret illegal prison within the US BOP prison system designed especially for a selected few Muslims.

After a short time there, I was asked by the brothers there to stand up as their Amir. At this time I started classes in Islamic Sciences and did not have time to take on such a responsibility, so I refused their request.

On an early morning after sunrise, as I was on a rusted manual treadmill that was provided for us in a small cage. Shukri asked to speak to me, and knowing that it was regarding the matter of being the Amir, I tried to brush off the conversation and continue my daily routine. “You need to accept being the Amir because everyone has by ijma (consensus) decided that they want you to be, and by you not accepting, it would make the problems we have out of control.”

My workout slowed down as he engaged me in the conversation. After several minutes, I reluctantly agreed.

Over the upcoming months, I learned more about him and our other brothers in the unit. They shared their past and opened their hearts. Among that which brother Shukri agonized over was his daughter, Sanabel. He, as the other brothers in the prison, loved his family deeply, but he faced a dilemma that not many others faced. His daughter, Sanabel, who was ill from childhood, continuously occupied his thoughts. The doctors predicted that she would not live very far past the age of seven but, by the will of Allah, she made it to her mid-twenties, Alhamdulillah.

One day, my dear brother Mukhtar Albakri (One of Lackawanna Six case) came to me and told me that Shukri is in the yard crying and that I should go check on him. This yard that he was in is basically nothing more than a small cage. When I went to look for him, he had gone back to his cell. I asked him what had happened and he told me that he just got off the phone, and that his Sanabel is in critical condition, with an unlikely recovery.     Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Biographies, Collateral Damage

 

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Seifullah Chapman: 2009 (Alhamdulillah, for Allah’s Mercy These People Have None)

As salaamu alaikum. I pray that you receive this while in the highest of emaan. Alhamdulillah, you have always been there with us during our years of incarceration, supporting us and letting others know of our situation. As I have not written to you in a while, this is the latest update of our current situation; I hope that you can inform people about our situation, your readers, and also incarcerated Muslims who might end up in the Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) new Special Management Unit (SMU) program, where I am currently being housed.

Prior to arriving at United States Penitentiary (USP) Lewisburg’s SMU program on April 20, 2009, I spent twenty-three months at FCI Terre Haute in the Communications Management Unit (CMU). There has been much reported about that Department of Justice program, its illegality, and its targeting of the Muslims. The CMU program is basically designed to keep a certain group off the prison compounds, and to restrict their communications in an attempt to completely cut them off from the rest of the world. Many a relationship had been harmed or destroyed by this program. May Allah forgive us and help us.

Early this year, Ismail Royer, Sabri Benkhala and I filed a law suit against the BOP over the CMU program. Prior to that, and for the entire duration of my time spent in the CMU, I never had any problem with prison staff, but all of that ended abruptly when the law suit was filed. It was not much more than a month later that I was transferred to USP Lewisburg’s SMU program in retaliation for our law suit.

For a year and a half at CMU the administrative staff had permitted all of us to pray in small groups of three. A short time after filing the law suit, Ismail and I (and one other brother) were given incident reports for praying in a group of three and not cutting our prayer when we were told that we needed to go pray in our cells.

There was no emergency that would have necessitated us leaving the prayer, and we were praying in the same out-of-the-way corner that we had prayed in for months. There is no staff member that had not seen us pray there in the past and this was the first mention of the “pray alone in your cell policy”. The BOP claims that this is the reason for my disciplinary transfer to the SMU – for praying in a group of three. Subhanallah. So, I was transferred to USP Lewisburg.

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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Letters from Seifullah Chapman, Risala

 

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Zachary Adam Chesser: January 25, 2013 (The War on Salaah Persists)

BismIllaah ir-Rahmaan ir-Rahiim,

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatUllaahi wa barakaatuh,

My name is Abu Talhah Zakariyya Al-Amriikii (legally Zachary Chesser, and I am a prisoner of the American Inquisition being held in one of the two facilities known as Guantanamo North in Marion, Illinois in the United States. The other Guantanamo North facility is in Terre Haute, Indiana. Officially these two units are called Communications Management Units (CMUs). I am writing this to inform you all of the continuing war against the ability of Muslims to pray together in this place.

I am actually writing this article on the first morning after having my e-mail privileges returned to me following a four month period where the American government took it away. They took it from me, because they convicted me of a crime. I did not steal, nor did I assault anyone, nor did I engage in any sort of illicit activity. I spent one third of a year cut off from my wife, who lives overseas and is without a mailing address and whom I cannot afford to call very often, because I was caught praying in a group with my fellow brothers in Islaam. I previously detailed this and other events in an article I wrote on the eve of these sanctions which I called “The War on Salaah.

This was not my first time being severed from my family over this issue. No. I have been convicted of this crime before. In November, 2011, my e-mail was taken for a month when I was convicted. As soon as my sanctions ended I was placed in isolation and lost all communications except one fifteen minute phone call for a month and a half. According to the Case Manager in my unit, Milton Neumann, this was due to things I wrote to the United States Senate criticizing the American government for not allowing us to pray and for a few other things as well.

A few weeks after being released from isolation, I was convicted of being suspected of praying in a group, not even for actually praying in a group, and I was sanctioned for another month. I was also placed in isolation again for a few weeks over the exact same issue as before, when this happened.

In May, 2012, I was again placed in isolation over a question I was trying to get answered regarding certain religious issues. There was nothing violent about the questions, but the prison chose to interpret them as promoting violence, because they automatically assume that anything having to do with Islaam is inherently violent. When I threatened to go to the media and to the courts over this, they expedited my release.

When I was in isolation on this occasion, I began to write a piece detailing a simple twenty-four hour experience locked away. I wrote it in a bit of an artistic manner as opposed to a simple article. The piece detailed our struggle to do things like call the adhaan and pray together in isolation. When I was released from isolation, I began re-writing it as an e-mail to the outside. Shortly after beginning it, while it was still saved in my drafts folder, our Unit Manager, Steven Cardona, and our Case Manager, Milton Neumann, called me into their office and threatened to put me in isolation permanently on fake investigations if I sent the e-mail out. I agreed to delete the e-mail.

I was again caught praying in a group around this time, but instead of writing me an incident report and taking my e-mail, the prison moved me to the cell closest to the office of the guards.

Shortly after this, I was again convicted of being suspected of praying, but this time I lost e-mail for two months. After this, I only had it back for three weeks when they convicted me on this most recent incident when I lost it for four months.

In the midst of this latest sanction, I worked with a brother to craft a lawsuit against the ban on prayer in Guantanamo North. I had to wait a long time, because the prison makes you seek administrative remedies for about a year before you can file a lawsuit. They never answer these remedies, so it is simply a way of deterring lawsuits. In fact, when the American government created this policy, they openly claimed that it was to keep prisoners from using the courts.

Our suit sought relief under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First and Fifth Amendments. The goal of the suit is to overturn the ban on congregational prayer in the unit, gain compensation for the oppression they subject us to in Guantanamo North, and to punish the people who are responsible for these actions. One of the people I am suing is the guard who, as mentioned in the previous article, threw a padlock at a wafer thin brother while he was sleeping. This brother is wafer thin, has one lung and is suffering from cancer. This guard is being sued, because he has issued incident reports for the prayer on two occasions.

I also hope to have the suit certified as a class action, but this is a bit difficult and I would need an attorney to do it (not that I cannot write the motion myself, but having an attorney is a prerequisite for filing a class action suit. A class action suit is one which applies to all people who fit a certain description, even if they themselves did not file the suit.

A similar suit was filed a few years ago by some brothers at Terre Haute’s Guantanamo North facility. In their suit, they simply sought relief under the RFRA, which means that no damages could be awarded. The standard for the RFRA is fairly easy to meet, so this is why they used that instead of a constitutional argument. Eventually, every single plaintiff on this suit was dismissed, except for John Walker Lindh.

The suit was also denied class action, because the extremist Sufi government appointed imaam who believes in Wahdat ul-Wujuud (that everything is Allaah and Allaah is everything) and who supports Bashar al-Assad in Syria wrote a misleading declaration against them. Despite the fact that this man’s beliefs and positions are considered extremely heretical by mainstream Muslims, the prison refuses to replace him and uses him to back up whatever position they want to take against the Muslims.

Our arguments are essentially the same, except that in our facility they have been more harsh on the prayer and they have less reasons for restricting it, as there have been a few incidents at Terre Haute which were used to justify the ban. The prison claims that group prayer leads to radicalization, and a “political” view of Islaam. This is why they have banned it. There arguments at each facility are the same.

Al-hamdu Lillaah, our brother at Terre Haute won. The judge in his case saw that the prison was very clearly oppressing them in their religion. Therefore, in shaa-Allaah, within the next two months these brothers will once again be able to pray in a group. However, there is a possibility that this will be delayed as the government appeals the ruling.

As one might imagine, all of the brothers here were overjoyed. It brought tears to our eyes when we saw this brother’s victory on the news. Everyone’s hopes were raised that maybe we would be allowed to pray together too. However, this was not the case. Despite the fact that the prison has been clearly told that their action was in violation of American law, they refuse to recognize this ruling.

Technically, they do not have to, because the court ruling only applies to John Walker Lindh. However, the ruling also makes clear that anyone who is in the same situation as Lindh ought to be allowed to pray by the prison. This is the case over here, but instead of viewing things from the perspective of right and wrong, the prison has chosen to view them from the perspective of what they can get away with in terms of oppressing Islaam. It would not cost them anything to let us pray together. In fact, it would save them time, money and resources.

They allow us to gather for every worldly purpose: cards, television, movies, food, conversation, sports, games, and so on. However, when it comes to the prayer, all of a sudden we become a threat to their security. Why? Because it is a public manifestation of a religion which frightens them. They see this force which they cannot understand. they see that it moves people to do extraordinary things. It causes men and women to reject those things which they love as immoral and adopt self-sacrifice and perseverance as a means to better the lives of their brothers and sisters. This is why we cannot pray.

Please raise awareness of this issue and please keep us in your du’a.

Abu Talhah Al-Amriiki
Guantanamo North

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

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Justice is Essential to Mankind

Former prisoner Sheikh Ahmad Musa Jibril on why Ibn Taymiyyah correlates prosperity to justice, explained in the context of abusive conditions in US prisons. 

Part One

Part Two

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Maktabah, Videos

 

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Mohamed Shnewer: May 22, 2012 (No Halal Food, No Salah in Jama, and continuous Harassment)

May 22, 2012

In The Name Of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

Assalamu Alaikum,

I appreciate your concern and continous effort to expose the conditions in the CMU. As for the justification given to prevent us from Halal food, they tell us that the vegetarian or Kosher trays are sufficient to meet my religious requirements. Which is of course a frivilous and false claim because we are’nt forbidden from eating meat, and the Kosher tray is a far cry from Halal. We have given them many different options on ways to provide us with Halal, yet they have refused every option we’ve put on the table. We told them we’ll buy it our selves, our families will provide the Halal food, the Mosques will provide it, but despite our best efforts we haven’t been able to get Halal food.

As for the congregational prayers, they have no excuse for it except that they hate and discriminate against Islam and Muslims. They allow every other type of congregation whether it be religious, social, or learning. They have blocked any effort for any Islamic learning as well. The Hunger Strike took place because of the ongoing harrasment and hostilities of the administration against the Muslim inmates. There were even non-Muslim inmates that participated because they were unhappy with the way the administration has been harrasing the Muslims. We came off of it, Alhamdulillah we were able to get some of our issues resolved. The harrasment is still ongoing, and we are working very hard to try to file a proper lawsuit in this matter.

Please highlight the facts that we aren’t being provided Halal food, congregational prayer, the ongoing harrasment of Muslims’, they are even trying to stop us from praying the Fajr prayer in our cell alone while we’re locked in. These are some of the issues I hope you can highlight. I’m not sure when the next time is that I can email, because I have been given two frivilous incident reports in retaliation for me trying to expose our situation in “GITMO North”.

May your efforts be fruitful. Thank you very much for your continued concern and effort over the conditions here.

Assalamu Alaikum,
Mohamed Shnewer

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Letters from Mohamed Shnewer, Risala

 

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