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Jesse Curtis Morton: August 20, 2012 (A Ramadan Reflection: From the Chest to Sham, Taqwa is the Heart of All Affairs)

All praise is due to Allah who commanded the Muslims to fast during Ramadan. He (Ta’ala) said,

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُون
O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as was prescribed for those before you that you became al-muttaqun (2:183)

And may the peace and mercy and Allah’s blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) who received the Quran in the holy month and warned the Muslim community when he said:

اقرؤا القرآن و عملوا به… و لا تأكلوا به
“Recite the Quran and act upon it ..and don’t eat or profit from it”

As another Ramadan has passed us by, Al-hamdollillah, it is important for us to reflect upon whether we have recognized its purpose and improved our Taqwa by becoming people that embody the Quranic message in our actions; or whether we have merely abstained from food and drink while devouring the Quranic essence, and thereby its true objective.

Taqwa is a difficult word to define. It is usually translated as ‘God-fearing’ or ‘pious,’ but perhaps the best definition was given by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiya Allahu anhu), who was asked to define it and responded with a question: “When you walk down a forest path covered in thorns, what do you do?” he asked his questioner. “You lift up your clothes, move very slow and take your steps carefully“, he [the questioner] responded, and Umar (radiya Allahu anhu) simply stated,”That, my friend, is Taqwa.

And it is unfortunate that in this age Ramadan has largely lost its connection to the purpose of instilling Taqwa. Instead, in many ways, Ramadan has been turned into an occasion for festivity and entertainment, not unlike the way Christians have distorted their celebration of Christmas so that it is commercialized and void of spiritual purpose. Neglecting the purposes of acts of worship in Islam is a primary reason for the Muslim Ummah’s present degradation, and this Ramadan was significant in that several events in the heart of the Muslim world should have allowed us to recognize that our material and physical circumstances are largely a direct reflection of the state of the heart inside our chests.

The most prominent events are those occurring in Syria, an area destined to play a crucial role in any Islamic revival for its import is included in many ahaadith and isolated in many books of Fiqh as the home of the Taifa Mansoora, the Fustaat (flag) at the end of times where the Abdaal (righteous) gather, help to make Bay’aah to the Mahdi and eventually aid Issa Ibn Maryam (alaihissalaam) in fighting the antichrist. For example, the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,

Syria will be conquered, and when you are given a choice of places to settle, go to a city called Damascus for it will be the Fustaat (Fustaat here means city) of the Muslims during the wars of Fitnah and the place of assembly.

Thus, its condition resembles the condition of the entire Ummah, and this is as Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,

You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind among themselves resembling one body. So, if a part of the body is ill then the whole body suffers from sleeplessness and fever.

And a proper conception of Islam helps us to understand that our personal conditions are connected to the condition of the global Muslim community altogether and that the condition of any given Muslim community is, at the same time, a direct reflection of the condition of Islam and Muslims across the world. It is for this reason that the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) admonished the companions saying,

He who is not concerned with the general affairs of the Muslims is not one of us.

Unfortunately, it is a lack of adhering to the path of Islam and [a lack of] trekking in a manner of caution and Taqwa that has caused the body of Muslims to suffer from sleeplessness and fever. And today we exist just as the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) described when he said:

The nations will call other nations to stand against you as the eaters call each other to eat from the food in front of them on a large wooden plate.

A person asked the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam),”Will that be because we will be few in number?”

The Prophet replied,”No, You will be great in number, but you will be rubbish like the rubbish of the flood water. And certainly Allah will remove from the hearts of your enemies fear of you and will throw Wahan in your hearts.”

A person asked, “What is ‘Wahan,’ O Messenger of Allah?”

The Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) replied, “Wahan is to love the world and hate death.

And Syria is a perfect sample of the Ummah’s general existence. Despite having a dominant Sunni population, a deviant Alawite minority has ruled the post colonialist nation through a dictatorship managed mostly by a single family. That authoritarian dictatorship has maintained for over four decades, largely due to the rubbish associated with a preponderant Arab racism and post-sykes-picot nationalism united against all manifestations of Islam as a complete socio-political, economic order.

It is a common circumstance all over the Muslim world, but where critics attribute blame to the external coalition of nations conspiring to feast on the Muslim world’s natural resources and civilization, the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) placed blame on the internal condition of the Muslims themselves. The tremors shaking the heart of the Arab world are proportionate to an Islamic Awakening over a generation, and perhaps the most evident lesson about “Taqwa” to take from this Ramadan, is the connection between the state of our spiritual selves and the general physical reality of Muslims everywhere.

The prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) stated,

“Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body, if it becomes reformed, the whole body becomes reformed, but if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted and that [piece] is the heart.”

Today both the hearts of the individual believer and the identity in the heart of the Muslim world face all sorts of dialectical rupturing and everywhere glimpses exist of an ascendant Islamic identity which is also in accord with what the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said, As you are so are the rulers above you. That being said, it becomes apparent that the solution to our contemporary situation is, first and foremost, a spiritual one and Ramadan serves as a continuous annual reminder of the connection between the spiritual and material realms.

This has always been the case. When the Tatars were pushed from Damascus by successful battle during Ramadan in 702 A.H, physical victory was a result of Ibn Taymia’s cleansing the beliefs of the Muslims with texts like his Aqeedahtu Hamawiyaa, written for the people of Hama, a town besieged by the Assad regime today.

Similarly, At-Tabari recorded in his classic work An History that when the Muslims first conquered Syria under Umar Ibn Al Khattab, Heraclius, the Roman emperor asked a Byzantine who had been a prisoner of the Muslims about their condition. The man replied,

“I shall tell you, and it will be as if you are looking at them. They are horseman during the day and monks at night. In the areas they rule, they do not eat except that they pay for it, and they do not enter a house except with a greeting of peace. They stand up to those who fight them until they destroy them.”

Heraclius could only reply, “If you have spoken the truth, they will indeed inherit the land on which I stand.” Surely, their foundation was Taqwa and we remain, as Imam Malik once suggested, “Verily the only thing that will rectify the ends of this Ummah, is what rectified its beginning.

As we push forward after Ramadan, let us remember that Taqwa is the foundation of all we do. That it is manifested in the heart and that our physical condition is dependent on the state of our spiritual selves.

It was for this reason that the noble Shaykh Nassarudeen Al-Albani adopted the Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen’s statement: “Establish the Islamic state in your hearts, and Allah will make it a reality,” even though he disagreed with them. Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) constantly emphasized such principles. He said, “Straighten your rows (three times) and Allaah will bring together your ranks or Allaah will put differences into your hearts,” and he (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) informed us that, “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different part enforce each other.

Today, we Muslims are being tested severely, and our current circumstances tell of potential revival, but it is evident the hearts are tainted by foreign desires. Allah has told us that “Allah has not made for man two hearts inside his body” (33.4). Taqwa is the spiritual garb of the heart that beats for Islam and Muslims, so let us cultivate it wherever we are and recognize that such efforts can only help to bring victory to the Muslims at large.

As individuals and collectives, Allah is testing our hearts. It is as the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,

“Trials and tribulations will be presented to the hearts, as a reed mat is interwoven stick by stick. Any heart which absorbs these trials will have a black mark put in it. However, any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put in it. The result is that hearts will be of two kinds: one white like a white stone, which will not be harmed by trials as long as the heavens and earth endure; and the other dark and rusty, like an over-turned vessel; not able to recognize the good, nor reject evil, but rather being absorbed with its desires.”

As an Ummah we are increasingly passing these tests and have witnessed some purification. As a result, a new middle east is formulating in the heart of the Muslim world and circumstances, like those unfolding in Syria, present numerous opportunities to connect the degree of material success to adherence upon the path of Taqwa as outlined by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, for Taqwa fixates the hearts upon the Quran and sunnah and other superficial displays of Islam absent such a foundation only lead to further sleeplessness and disorder.
Brothers and sisters should use the affairs unfolding in Syria to connect to the global Ummah and to call to adherence to these principles.

The great scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah stated that:

“There are four matters, that when their limits are transgressed harden the heart: food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. A body afflicted by disease does not derive nourishment from admonishment or exhortation. Whoever desires to purify his heart then let him give preference to Allah over his base desires.”

Ramadan forces the Muslim to restrain all four of these base desires but only those able to connect refraining from them during the holy month to the cultivation of Taqwa thereafter will cleanse their condition and benefit from the trial. In the same way, the historic trials unfolding in the communities of Muslims across the globe will only produce benefit where they stand upon a foundation of Taqwa that manifests action upon the Quranic path. It is a failure to recognize the purpose behind acts of worship in Islam that makes us those that eat and sell the divine message just like the nations before us. May Allah make us al-Muttaqun.

Eid Mubarek.
Younes Abdullah Muhammad
Jesse Curtis Morton #79274-083
FCI Schuylkill
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 759
Minersville, PA 17954
USA
 
 

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‘It is Because of Our Hearts that We have Come to Syria’: The Case of Oum Usama & The Myth of “Recruitment”

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On Wednesday 17 July Dutch authorities arrested a young Muslim woman, Oum Usama, a Dutch National of Somali origins in the small city of Zoetermeer, just sixteen kilometers east of Hague. Following two days of detention and interrogation, Oum Usama was arraigned at court on Friday 19 July where the presiding judge extended her detention for an additional two weeks, during which the state must decide how to precede.

According to a statement by Nicolette Stoel speaking on behalf of the Public Prosecutor’s office in The Hague, Oum Usama has since been transferred to an unknown location where she is being held incommunicado.

“The woman [Oum Usama] was arrested and has been remanded for two weeks while an investigation is underway… At this stage she is only allowed contact with her lawyer.”

The reason for her arrest and subsequent detainment stems from allegations that she “recruited” other Dutch nationals to travel abroad to take part in the conflict which has been raging in Syria for the past three years.

As it is not, as of yet, illegal for Dutch citizens to travel to Syria, the government is largely ineffectual at prohibiting travel to that country by any legal apparatus currently at the judicial system’s disposal. The inability to inhibit movement of Dutch Muslims and the resulting impotence has caused the State to instead focus on those who they can prosecute: the “recruiters”. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Campaigns, News Items

 

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A Web of Suffering: Syria’s Network of Terror Centres

Regime intelligence services are running an “archipelago of torture centers scattered across the country”, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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The NGO interviewed hundreds of detainees and defectors who confirmed that there are twenty-seven facilities across Syria where the use of acid burning, sexual assault and nail-pulling have been used.

The existence of these facilities and types of torture techniques were confirmed by multiple witnesses. HRW have called it a ‘crime against humanity’ and said that this could be the tip of the iceberg – that many more centers could exist.

Last year, when reports began to leak out of the torture centers in Syria, Jonathan Miller, foreign affairs correspondent for Channel 4, presented the mounting body of evidence to ministers in the Assad government. The Syrian regime fiercely denied these accusations and continues to do so.

In an American television interview last year, President Assad said:

“We don’t kill our people. No government in the world kills its people unless it’s led by a crazy person.”

The HRW report comes as Assad puts through a series of new ‘anti-terrorist’ laws. According to the parliamentary bills:

“Those who are direct members of a terrorist group may be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison with hard labor, but the punishment will be harder if the goal is to change the regime or the nature of the state.”

Critics said the new laws are clearly targeting members of the opposition and will likely lead to increased detentions in centers where torture is a known interrogation technique.

Although most of the detainees interviewed were men between the ages of 18 and 35, women and children were also amongst the victims.

One 31-year-old detainee spoke to HRW about his experiences in Idlib Central Prison:

“They forced me to undress. Then they started squeezing my fingers with pliers. They put staples in my fingers, chest and ears. I was only allowed to take them out if I spoke. The staples in the ears were the most painful. They used two wires hooked up to a car battery to give me electric shocks. They used electric stun-guns on my genitals twice. I thought I would never see my family again. They tortured me like this three times over three days.”

There are now calls to get the International Criminal Court involved but the court would only have jurisdiction via the UN Security Council, and with Russia still at odds with the rest of the members, this seems unlikely to happen.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in News Items

 

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Tarek Mehanna Campaign Denounces Witch-Hunt and Bribes for Capture of Co-defendant, Ahmad Abousamra

Three years after returning to his ancestral homeland in Syria, Ahmad Abousamra was indicted in absentia with Tariq Mehanna. This 2009 indictment is the very same document that inspired the theatrical press conference by US Attorneys to unleash on the public a non-existent but undeniably dramatic plot of a mall shooting spree.

Now three years later, a new drama unfolds, featuring the release of a poorly produced public announcement in search of the alleged fugitive, “Aa-Maad” Abousamra.

Of note in the grander scheme of criminal activity is that the FBI field office in Boston is in pursuit of several fugitives; a convicted murderer who stabbed a man to death, a man who shot and beat a police chief to death, a man wanted for the molestation of three young girls, and a man wanted for the repeated rape of two young boys, who, sadly, is the only other fugitive with a reward offer and at half of that of Abousamra’s.

Yet none of the above mentioned were worthy of a video and a vast effort to spread a global campaign of media alerts and social networking awareness, especially when it seems as though a potential serial-child-rapist in one’s own backyard is a more eminent threat than a man who is not even accused of committing an act of violence, living in a foreign country. The disproportionate attention given to Abousamra and Mehanna only glaringly illustrates the political nature of such prosecutions.

As such, the video regurgitates the same conjectures of Abousamra’s supposed intentions that are found in indictments and press releases; the ‘wanted’ video merely adds a visual dimension to the propaganda.

Viewers are primed in anticipation when the video alert reveals an upcoming audio clip. What would they hear when the “armed and dangerous” Ahmad Abousamra, a man who’s crime was to believe in “the glory of dying on the battlefield,” speaks?        Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Campaigns, News Items

 

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Heart Breaking! The Case of Shaykh Abu Mouadh Nourdine Nafi’a and his wife.

The Case of Shaykh Abu Mouadh Nourdine Nafi’a and his wife.

The joint committee received this letter from Shaykh Abu Mouadh Nourdine Nafi’a. He wrote it while he was being held in Kenitra central prison, in which he was subjected to barbaric torture after he was arbitrarily transferred on the 9th of October 2010. He was on hunger strike since the 6th of December 2010 while he was there until he was between life and death. He wrote this letter then speaking about the kidnapping he and his wife have been through and detention and torture in Temera secret detention centre and other secret centers.

He is now is solitary confinement, cut off the world around him in Toulal 2 prison, Meknes. He is one of those accused of being behind the Sala prison clashes (16-17/May/2011) or what is known by “Salé Zaki prison riot”

All praise is due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon his messenger, his family, his companions and those who adhere to him.

To proceed:

I am shaykh Abu Mouadh Nourdine Nafi’a, who is currently held in Kenitra central prison. Prisoner number: 26512, I am the one signed below, Nourdine Nafi’a who is sentenced to 20 years based on fabricated evidence under the guise of “combating terror”. I reiterate that I am innocent of all charges against me. I am a victim of American policies in the region. To clarify this I will outline what I and my wife have been through of suffering and violations in the dungeons of the secret services.

I am a Moroccan citizen, a member of the Islamic movement since the 80s. A Muslim, Sunni, following the Quran and the noble traditions of the prophet, according to the understanding of our pious predecessors such as Imam Malik, Shafi’i, Ahmed, Abu Hanifa may Allah have mercy upon them. I migrated from my homeland in 1988 to Afghanistan for the intention of joining the “Jihad”. It was not possible to go to Palestine, between me and it were thousands of barriers because of the “Arab cordon states”. My first stop was Europe and after repeated attempts I managed to travel to Pakistan in 1991, then to Afghanistan after the fall of the communist government. I made that country my homeland. In 1998 I left Afghanistan for Syria, Damascus, where I married the sister of Yassine al-Shaqori who is held is Guantanamo may Allah hasten his release. I began to trade to support my family, travelling between Syria and Turkey for trade. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in News Items

 

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Abu Mouadh Nourdine Nafi’a: December 2010 (I am overpowered, so help me!)

All praise is due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon his messenger, his family, his companions and those who adhere to him.

To proceed:

I am shaykh Abu Mouadh Nourdine Nafi’a, who is currently held in Kenitra central prison. Prisoner number: 26512, I am the one signed below, Nourdine Nafi’a who is sentenced to 20 years based on fabricated evidence under the guise of “combating terror”. I reiterate that I am innocent of all charges against me. I am a victim of American policies in the region. To clarify this I will outline what I and my wife have been through of suffering and violations in the dungeons of the secret services.

I am a Moroccan citizen, a member of the Islamic movement since the 80s. A Muslim, Sunni, following the Quran and the noble traditions of the prophet, according to the understanding of our pious predecessors such as Imam Malik, Shafi’i, Ahmed, Abu Hanifa may Allah have mercy upon them. I migrated from my homeland in 1988 to Afghanistan for the intention of joining the “Jihad”. It was not possible to go to Palestine, between me and it were thousands of barriers because of the “Arab cordon states”. My first stop was Europe and after repeated attempts I managed to travel to Pakistan in 1991, then to Afghanistan after the fall of the communist government. I made that country my homeland. In 1998 I left Afghanistan for Syria, Damascus, where I married the sister of Yassine Al-Shaqori who is held is Guantanamo may Allah hasten his release. I began to trade to support my family, travelling between Syria and Turkey for trade.

In the very same year we found out that my wife had a tumor in her head. Hence I used to travel from one hospital to another and from country to another. I increased in my trade transactions and interaction to be able to pay off treatment and travel costs. This continued until I managed with the help of other business men to set up an import and export office. In (Year not mentioned) a doctor advised that it was necessary for my wife to have laser treatment to remove the tumor or she would be in danger of losing her sight. They advised me to travel to Jeddah to carry out the operation. We tried but we couldn’t get a visa for Umrah for Ramadhan 1423 AH, November 2002CE. Some tradesmen advised us to travel to Mauritania where citizenship is relatively easy to get and then to travel to Saudi during the hajj season.

That is what we did. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Mohammed Majid Shakir: January 14, 2010

My name is mohammed majid shakir, born in 1970 in Iraq. Im married with four children, but I haven’t seen them or had any news from them in nearly seven years. I miss them so much but all praises to Allah(swt), if this is my destiny. What follows are some details about my case and why I am in prison. It seems that to be muslim is a crime.

I arrived in Italy in 1998 where I was given political asylum. On the 4th April 2003 I was arrested by the secret service in Syria, but only a few days after this (9th April 2003 ). The Syrians said that I am in prison because I am accused of International Terrorism and have been arrested on behalf of the Italians. I spoke to the captain of the secret service and he told me the only reason I was arrested was because of charges brought by the Italians. He said they have no issues with me in Syria. When I was arrested, all the big Italian newspapers (Republica, Corriere Della serra ) published my arrest as if it was a victory for them.

Before my arrest, on the 31st March 2003 the Italians had arrested many muslims in the north of Italy, between Parma and Milan. (one brother was a Somali from England, the other was called Mostafa from Iraq, another from Egypt and another fro Tunisia). After this, the Italian authority sent to the Syrian authorities a warrant of arrest against me, accusations being helping muslim brothers to enter Iraq to fight against the USA and against the democratic Iraqi government. This accusation is false and I haven’t got any proof, because I am innocent. Now, I will tell you of my life in the cruel prisons in Syria.

When I was arrested in Damascus, I was in Hell prison of the secret services and under investigation. The name of the prison is Palestine Prison and it is on Palestine Street. This prison uses the same methods of torture like Abu Ghraib. For example, they make everyone stay naked in their cells and they are beaten savagely. I remained in Syrian prisons for 2 Years and 10 months.

At Palestine Prison, The cell was very small, 1 meter 50 cm High, and 70cm Width. Theres no windows, covers or blankets. It’s a very old prison, and all the cells are underground. Nobody visited us here and no-one knew our news. If you have any money, they stole it from you, especially if it is dollars or euros. If you want shampoo, soap,bread or oil, it is the guards who are responsible for obtaining these items. They control the items like a mafia, and they charge extortionate prices for even simple goods. The commanding officers (head guards) also steal from you and do not permit you any items except for huge bribes.

If you want a shower, you are only permitted for one minute. If you take more than one minute, then if you take two minutes they beat you hard. However, if you want a two minute shower you can give the guard 2 tins of sweets or 2 tins of sardines. If you don’t have these you will be beaten. One time a guard was angry, so he forbade from having a shower for 3 months. He also forbade us from buying bread, oil, soap or shampoo.

I will tell you what happened to me and other brothers in terms of torture. The director of the prison was called Abdel Karim. My interrogators were Heitham and Rami. The torturers were called Colonel Giorge and his deputy, Colonel Abou Nour. Their instruments of torture were :-

a. Blasphemy. They insulted Allah(swt), his messenger(saw), and tore up the Qu’ran

b. Beating with sticks. They attacked me with a hard stick, and if I tried to defend myself they attacked me harder. Whilst this was happening, I could hear the screams of the other brothers, and they haunt me still to this day.

c. In the winter, in the cell of torture the brothers were tied to a chair by their hands and feet, and into a cell that was freezing. They put an electric fan on us in our faces from morning to afternoon.

In the whole time there, there was never a doctor. We used to pray all the time for Allah(swt) not to make us sick, because we did not have even any medication. Two brothers died from tuberculosis, one from Iraq and another from Syria. The food was so bad we could not even swallow it. The cells were so cold in Winter, Spring and Autumn because the cells were underground.

After two years and forty-five days of this secret service imprisonment, they have transferred me to another prison. This prison was called “Bab El Mossala”. I stayed there for 8 months. After this I was transferred to the Interpol (international) prison for one day, and the day after they extradited me to Italy on the plane of the Italian secret service on 27th January 2006 and I arrived in Milan. On arrival I was convicted under 270 bis laws in Italy for international terrorism and sentenced to 10 years.

The Italian authorities knew I was in prison in Syria, because the Italian consular officials visited me there, with an Arabic translator from Syria. I asked why he didn’t help me when he knew I had an Italian passport after being awarded asylum. He told me its not his problem and he took the documents away from me. After I spoke to the Syrian commander, the commander told me it was Italy who were holding me and if they sent a letter to release me, they would release me immediately. I paid $200 to the commander to contact the Ministry of Interior in Italy, but after a few weeks they extradited me to Italy anyway. I was in Syrian prisons at request of the Italian authorities. Despite the fact I was in prison because of the Italians, they refuse to even give me remission of my sentence due to time served in Syria and take this sentence away from my sentence in Italy. They refused my request even though this is my right.

Please can you let Strasbourg court know what is happening.

Walaykum salam,

Mohamed Majid Shakir

 
 

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