CIA’s Muslim Black Sites
Muslim Black Sites
Are you shocked by this title? Well, welcome to the real world, as they say.
I will not comment on what I am calling here Muslim Black Sites, for, that is what they are. They are torture chambers that the world calls Black Sites. And they are located in Muslim homelands, run by Muslim governments and their agencies and employees.
You will find their list in a special United Nations report made public on March 9, 2009.
With the exception of Ethiopia and Thailand the Muslim countries named by the United Nations are what some people would refer to as the core of the Islamic Crescent – from one end to the other, namely, Afghanistan, Egypt, (Ethiopia), Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, (Thailand) and Uzbekistan.
These countries are the virtual Who-is-Who of the Muslim world.
A large percentage of the American public opinion has rejected torture. The newly elected president of the United States declared on day one of his taking office that America does not and will not torture.
There are legal luminaries who are clamoring for the former torturers of the previous American administration to be investigated and prosecuted.
What Muslims must be asking is where are similar demands for rejecting torture from the public opinion in these Muslim countries?
Where is the declaration to reject and shun torture by the heads of states and governments in these Muslim countries?
Who is demanding that the former and present torturers in these Muslim countries be brought to book and prosecuted to the full extent of the law?
But the issues are far deeper than that. The most basic question Muslims must be asking is what kind of human and civil rights do the Muslim people enjoy in these and other Muslim countries?
To what degree can the broad masses of Muslims organize, protest and express themselves and petition their governments for redress of grievances?
That is why, in my view, there is no need for commentary of any kind with regard to the facts provided below. All you need to do is read the following paragraphs and draw your own conclusions.
Muslim Torture Chambers
The facts are obvious – if we believe the report by the United Nations that is. If the UN Rapporteur is not lying, which I don’t think is the case, then these are the facts.
Read the passage below and ask yourself: Is that why the Muslims are in the kind of mess they are? Is this part of the reason why Muslim problems never get solved? Because Muslims have foxes guarding the henhouse?
So, here is a report of the Special UN Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, issued on Monday, March 9, 2009, P. 18, paragraph 52, being presented to you without further comment or discussion:
According to this report, “a number of states facilitated extraordinary renditions in various ways.”
How exactly did they do it?
They “have provided intelligence or have conducted the initial seizure of an individual …”
What happened to that individual after he was identified or seized?
“…he was transferred …”
Transferred to where?
“… to (mostly unacknowledged) detention centres…” (Centres, UN document spelling).
And where exactly are those detention centers located? (Centers, my spelling).
“… in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan or to one of the CIA covert detention centres…” ((Centres, UN document spelling).
What are these detention centers called? (Centers, my spelling).
They are “often referred to as ‘black sites.’”
What do these detention centers do to these detainees that are transferred to them?
“In many cases, the receiving states reportedly engaged in torture and other forms of ill-treatment of these detainees.”
Spellings in these quotes are British as in the original report. Italics are mine.
Once again, who are those Muslim states to whom the CIA outsources the torture of prisoners that are sometimes kidnapped from the streets of third countries? Here is their list once again: Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Thailand and Uzbekistan.
So, Muslims, you wanted to know and I told you. What now? What comment could I add, maybe, other than saying: So help me God?
Is there such a thing in our Muslim lore as: God Save the Muslims? What if someone turns around and asks: From whom? Will our answer then be: From themselves?
Maybe I can also say, and I will: Allahummarham ummata Muhammadin, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam!
That means, Ya Allah, have mercy on the Ummat of Muhammad, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam!
Now do you see why I am generally reluctant to comment on current events?
My Approach to Current Events
That is why I am often reluctant to talk about current affairs. Among my reasons are the following:
(1) I often do not have the resources to have all the facts and information available to me in a timely fashion.
(2) I want to first lay down the groundwork of fundamental Islamic teachings around which a meaningful discussion of contemporary issues could take place. That is why I have spent the past nearly two years trying to clarify some basic Islamic concepts and ideas.
(3) I have no idea who if anyone reads Payaam-e-Maghrib. For, even though I have been now writing almost every week for well over a year and a half, I have not heard from a single individual, either agreeing or disagreeing with anything I say. Not one letter to the editor, to the best of my knowledge.
(4) Sometimes, frankly, I wonder about our ability as Muslims to handle the truth. And reality – current or past – is often about truth. Often unvarnished and unpleasant truth. Not in distant or abstract terms as it would be for many people when we quote a Hadith or an Aayat in a general way, but in terms of real happenings in the real world involving real people, toward whom you may have all kinds of mixed feelings and attitudes.
(5) Current issues are often transient in nature. They come and go with the rapidity of waves in the ocean. Core Islamic concepts, on the other hand, endure and they are forever. And it is our inability to understand them that has brought us to the sorry pass we are in.
(6) Yet, in spite of all this, there are times that clearly demand that certain current happenings around the world be addressed and spoken about using the Islamic criteria of truth, clarity, simplicity and usefulness. I have tried to address them in at least two instances that I recall: One, on the Pope and the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, when the Pope said in a speech show me one good thing Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) brought into the world. The other on British women’s right to cover their faces in public should they choose to do so. I hope I can rise to that challenge in the future as Allah allows me to do so.
(7) The present Payaam on CIA’s Muslim Black Sites is part of my new willingness to address some selected current issues in future, provided I can find the time and resources to do so. If Allah wants it to happen, it will. If he does not, then there is not a force in the world that will change that.
People of Truth, People of Lies
To a world darkened by lies and deceit, a loving God Almighty raised up a nation of believers conceived in truth and dedicated to the proposition that they will live and die by truth and nothing but truth.
Haqq is what God Almighty called it in the Qur’an. He also called it Sidq.
Furthermore, God calls himself The Truth – Al Haqq.
This was a nation of believers. That is what he calls them in the Qur’an: Believers. For, their belief was self-evident and their commitment clear.
And God Almighty called them the best nation in the world (Khair Ummat): for who they were and for what they did – for what they were raised up and trained to do. For what their mission was in life: telling people to do the right and the good thing and telling them not to do the wrong and the bad thing.
And it was their mission and purpose in life to show people, through their individual and collective example, how to do the right and good thing. Just as it was also their purpose and mission in life to set up all kinds of economic, social and political institutional structures and arrangements to make it possible for people to do the things that were right and good.
So Muslims were raised up and sent into this world as the People of Truth. And they were told to live in this world as the Good People.
That means Muslims were also raised up as a free people.
For, in the human equation, truth and freedom are inseparable. A slave people can only watch truth from a distance, while a free people embody it in their everyday word and deed.
And many Muslims continued on this path of truth. For generations on end. The world came to see and know them as the People of Truth. As the Good People. The world over.
Wherever these people went, they came to be known as upright, honest, truthful and honorable people.
That is the kind of people Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, trained them to be. He hand-molded them to be that. One at a time.
He himself was an embodiment of truth. Even his enemies called him As-Saadiq, Al-Ameen.
Those Arabic words meant truthful and trustworthy: Truthful in Speech and Trustworthy in Character.
How many of you in India, for example, have heard a non-Muslim say to a Muslim things like: “How can you tell a lie like this? You are a Muslim!”
But as time passed, the Muslim character took a beating. Lust for wealth and power corroded the spiritual arteries of many Muslims diluting the Muslim people’s legendary commitment to truth and uprightness.
Muslims and the Character Issue
In a cyclical process of cause and effect, the weakness of character in the Muslim people led to their military defeat at the hands of their enemies. That in turn led to their political and economic subjugation, which further eroded the core of their character and infused it with all the flaws that a slave people are heir to.
As a result, many Muslims, from being a people of truth, ended up becoming a people of lies. From a people of action they became a people of excuses, rationalizations and cover-ups. From being a solution to the problems plaguing God’s earth, they themselves became part of those problems.
And the world of God Almighty pretty much reverted to the deep darkness of lies and deceit and corruption – Fasaad, as the Qur’an calls it – as it used to be before Islam rescued it from that plight.
Latter-day well-wishers of the Muslim people, like the famous Indian poet Iqbal, sang in the wilderness about deteriorating Muslim character. “Relearn the lessons of truth!” they admonished the Muslims, the erstwhile people of truth.
But Muslims heard the cry, shrugged and went on.
A flawed character and a darkened soul is never comfortable in the glare of truth. A body pampered by greed and rendered wretched by lust cannot endure truth, honesty and integrity any more than the mythical vampires of Transylvania can endure sunlight.
Whereas Muslims as a free and truthful people used Islam as a dynamic and comprehensive way of life, and invited the whole world to join them in the joy and excitement of being Muslim, many latter-day Muslims as a degenerate people of lies and deception turned Islam into a set of empty rituals and dogmas.
This helped many of them to cover up their guilt, dull their conscience and keep up the fraud of pretending to be Muslim while their entire individual and collective lifestyle negated that claim at every step.
When entire nations and societies ensnare themselves in a web of lies, fabrications and cover-ups, then it does not matter how you characterize them. Islamic these actions and their perpetrators are not, if the word Islam has any meaning at all. All the perfumes of Arabia, as Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth says, will not sweeten their little hands.
The Enemy Within
Part of this culture of lies and deception many Muslims built in more recent times are these Muslim Black Sites.
The world generally calls them the CIA Black Sites or some similar name. It makes many Muslims furious: to hear that the hated CIA has built black sites around the world in which to throw its mostly Muslim captives to be tortured and ill-treated.
But Muslim culture is not always a culture of knowledge and inquiry. And Muslims in general are not a people trained to think calmly and investigate and discuss things rationally.
And they have a leadership that is in many instances ignorant, ill-informed, selfish, backward and repressive. How many Muslim leaders in how many places have sold out to foreign powers and money is an open question.
And how many Muslim leaders have fallen victim to their own weaknesses of character and intellect is obvious for all to see.
But seeing requires having good eyesight. And in Islam, it requires having sharp minds and healthy hearts. And it requires being in possession of souls that are not blackened by a long history of dark deeds.
For, the Qur’an says most clearly and emphatically, it is the hearts that go blind, not the eyes.
So, the Muslims never asked and their leaders never told. The question as to who all are involved in the running of these deep, dark torture chambers around the world is never really addressed openly or brought to light by Muslims and their leadership.
I have tried to point out from time to time that Muslims have many enemies whom they should not overlook. It is obvious. And it is only logical and natural that it should be so.
But at the same time, I have suggested repeatedly, Muslims should also take a closer look at themselves: who they are and what they do. Muslims must carefully analyze and understand their own reality.
As someone said: We have seen the enemy, and a lot of times, it is us.
The Qur’an tells the Muslims to look to themselves to see what they have done wrong.
Here is the Qur’an:
Wa maa asaabakum mim museebatin fa-bimaa kasabat aydeekum.
When a calamity befalls you, it is due to what you have done.
Here again is the Qur’an:
…Qultum annaa haadhaa. Qul huwa min ‘indi anfusikum.
When a disaster befalls you, you say: How did this happen? Where did this come from?
Say: It is from yourselves. It is the result of what you have done. You brought it on yourselves.
Hadith gives Muslims immunity against being obliterated from outside, that is, by other nations, forces and societies of the world. But in the same Hadith Muslims are clearly warned that they could be their own worst enemy. If they are bent on destroying themselves, then God Almighty will simply allow them to do so and will not intervene.
He will simply replace an errant generation with a better one. Clean the stables and bring in new horses.
Ta’aleem and Tazkiyah: The Twin Pathway to Solving Muslim Problems
What now? Where do we go from here? As someone said: Pas chay baayad kard, ay aqwaam-e-sharq?
What should Muslims do to deal with this situation and with countless other disasters that have smitten them over the past several decades?
Over the past few centuries if you want to put it that way.
The answer requires time. And it will be fairly long and complex. But let me say this right here and right now: the answer is education.
And the answer is character.
Educate the Muslims and everything else will follow. At least that is the solution offered by the Qur’an to human problems in general.
It may take time but it will happen. And if Muslims are smart, they can cut down the time significantly.
Islam has a most comprehensive approach to education. Education in Islam covers everything that human beings can and need to know about this and the other world.
The Qur’an calls it Ta’leem.
It thus includes all things that have come to us through Wahy as well as all things that are known or knowable through science and broad human inquiry. And it includes formal as well as informal education.
At the same time, education in Islam has a close corollary: character building. The Qur’an calls it Tazkiyah, which is also a most comprehensive concept. And it includes individuals as well as groups, nations and societies.
Thus, Ta’aleem and Tazkiyah are the two core Qur’anic concepts that hold the key to not only Muslim problems but also to human problems in general. And they both are highly complex and multidimensional concepts whose details need a lot of time and effort to work out.
These two concepts together cover everything about human life: theory as well as practice; this world as well as next world.
A good and immediate beginning is for all of us to understand that this is Qur’an’s formula for solving human problems. Our challenge now is to work out some of the details and dedicate ourselves to the task of educating the Muslims and building their character – both as individuals and as groups, nations and societies.
© 2009 Syed Husain Psha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.