“Today I have lost my 8 year and 2 month battle against extradition to the US. I would like to thank all those over the years who supported me and my family: lawyers, politicians, journalists and members of the public from all walks of life.”
“By exposing the fallacy of the UK’s extradition arrangements with the US, I leave with my head held high having won the moral victory.”
- Babar Ahmad
As I write this, an extradition hearing is continuing in the Royal Courts of Justice, the very final one, before judgement is delivered in the cases of Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Khalid al Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary and Abu Hamza. Each case is different with its own individual facts but all contain one common element: a Muslim suspected of involvement in some form of terrorism and wanted by the US government. Having attended part of the hearing yesterday, I am already aware of the decision. In fact, I was aware of it last week as soon as the applications were lodged. But hearing about corruption and collusion is no substitute for witnessing it performed live. As I returned home, so many thoughts reverberated in my head – façade, farce, charade, mockery, theatre, drama, show trial. What I saw yesterday was a pantomime, complete with the one-eyed hook-handed supervillain, with all parties reading from the same script. The sadness of yesterday has turned to anger and bitterness today. Fury of the type the Lord Chief Justice speaks about, also at the system, but for very different reasons.
Sitting in the courtroom, watching all the protagonists prance about and articulate and pontificate, with their false airs and graces, winking and nodding, smiling and elbowing, as they tried to give a veneer of credibility and legitimacy to a process which has been undermined at the outset by the decision-makers in Washington, I felt increasing resentment in my heart towards almost everyone who has played a part in this never-ending drama. From the police to the prosecutors, the parliamentarians to the ministers, the lawyers to the judges, both British and European, all had colluded and were reading from the same filthy script, smudged with fingerprints of corruption and deception.
How they laughed! How they mocked! At times, it was difficult to discern the barristers from the DPP and Home Office from the judges. But as the old adage goes, ‘he who laughs last laughs best’. The last laugh indeed will be that of those five men, not just in the akhirah but in this dunya too. It is they who will laugh best for the filthy script, as much as the authorities wickedly cackle and take pleasure and pride in believing that it is their own, is only a miniscule chapter in a much greater Script; a Script written 50,000 years before the creation of the heavens and the earth. A Script in which justice prevails, the oppressed rise up and the prisoners are liberated and become leaders.
It was in this same Script that Ibrahim (as) was thrown into the fire by his government who believed that by doing so, they had done away with this troublesome boy. It was in this same Script that Yusuf (as) was imprisoned on two occasions, the first of which involved solitary confinement at the bottom of a well after he is beaten and thrown in by his own blood brothers. He is later in his life thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. Later in this phenomenal history of the world, Musa (as) is forced to flee his land by a tyrannical ruler after he is betrayed by someone who he tried to help. Likewise the Prophet Muhammed (s) is also forced to flee his city after over a decade of persecution by the ruling classes. Not content with ridding themselves of his preaching and calls to justice, they launch attack after attack on him and his supporters. On each occasion, the evildoers celebrate and view their small successes as evidence of their superiority and power.
But they had not written the Script and did not know of what was to come. Ibrahim (as) emerges unscathed from the fire. Yusuf (as) is rescued from the well and later negotiates the conditions of his release from prison, and ultimately is given authority in the land, with his tormentors now dependant on his generosity and forgiveness. Musa (as) returns to confront Firaun in his own courtyard and before the masses, exposes the corruption and fragile foundations upon which the entire political governance is built. Muhammed (s), who fled Makkah under the cover of darkness with a single companion, returns at the head of a 10,000 strong army, with those who abused and oppressed him at his mercy.
Naturally our brothers may fear the conditions they will be held in once extradited, both because of what they know about it and what they do not. Similarly, we know that a fire burns, it stings, it scalds, it melts the skin and peels the flesh and we imagine how painful it may be but until we are placed in that situation, imagine is all we can do. Think how Ibrahim (as) must have felt as he was strapped into the catapult while the people gathered and made him watch the enormous fire being built in front of him into which he knew he was to be thrown. A fire so large that it burned the birds that flew over it. What thoughts must have been going through his head? However, the One who made the fire hot and gave it the ability to burn and scald, is the One who can make it cool and safe if He wishes.
“O Fire! Be you coolness and safety for Abraham.” (21:69)
Despite the horror stories we have heard about Supermax, if Allah (swt) wishes, it can be a serene garden for the brothers. And we sincerely ask Allah to make their time in America one of bliss and comfort in a manner in which only He is capable of doing.
Allah consoled Yusuf (as) in the well that this situation would not last forever and that he would indeed inform his brothers of what they did. Similarly, we pray that Allah (swt) will be with our brothers even when they feel they are in solitary and that their plight will not last forever, that Allah will aid them, elevate their ranks and place them in positions in the future where they can tell their stories. In such solitude, there is no better companion. The brothers will inshaAllah benefit from this one-to-one training with Malik ul Mulk in preparation for their return inshaAllah.
Like Musa (as), they will return to expose the innate corruption and dishonesty in the system. This process has been ongoing for over a decade. The struggle has exposed the corruption and hypocrisy of several institutions including the police, the IPCC, the CPS, several successive governments, parliament, and the courts, both domestic and Europe. The fundamental doctrines upon which they proudly claim their state is built, such as the separation of powers, habeus corpus, free speech and human rights, has been exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric subject to the whims and desires of those in power. InshaAllah on their return, the brothers will complete the job in exposing the system. And their return will be like that of the Prophet Muhammed (s), with all those involved in their abuse, torture, incarceration and extradition making public apologies and asking for forgiveness.
Like the great men mentioned above, this extradition experience is designed to give these exceptional brothers the necessary training to fulfil a far greater purpose and role in this dunya, that Allah has chosen for them. We know that Allah must really love them in light of the test He is putting them through. They have done the dawah work, the mentoring, the khutbahs, the circles, the campaigns, the charity drives, the aid convoys, the prison time, and much more. Extradition and Supermax is just another feather in their caps, one which the rest of us will envy on the Day of Judgement. On that Day, with the fear and terror we will all be in, who would not want to be able to say to Allah that he suffered exile and incarceration in Supermax for His sake!
It will shortly be announced that the British and US governments have won and the brothers have lost. If there is anything a reading of the Script informs us of is that the oppressors’ perceived victories are short-lived and in the end, the truth becomes manifest and justice prevails. Throughout the Arab world, this trend is continuing where former prisoners accused of terrorist acts and threatening state security are now governing their countries, their oppressors consigned to the dustbin of history.
The fallacies of the system have been exposed. Like Ibrahim, Yusuf, Musa and Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all) and like the Muslim prisoners throughout history, these five men are the winners.
By the Lord of the Ka’abah, they have won!